ROCKLAND, Maine — City Council agreed Tuesday night to hire an outside consultant to help recruit and select a new city manager.
The council voted 3-1 to hire Dacri & Associates of Kennebunkport for $17,000. Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf voted against the action while Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson was absent.
Mayor Larry Pritchett said the council decided to seek the firm’s assistance because the last two managers hired had not brought about the desired results. The council hired Rosemary Kulow in September 2009, and she left in September 2011. The council then hired James Smith in February 2012, and he resigned in December 2013.
“While each of those managers had strengths, turnover in the manager’s office has cost the city in productivity, staff morale and missed opportunities,” Pritchett said.
The mayor said in a manager/council form of municipal government, the leadership and management skills of the city manager combined with the quality of the people elected to the council are two of the most important factors that determine the ability of the city to provide the services and infrastructure the community expects and deserves.
The council considered four consultants before selecting Dacri & Associates, with the other three being Municipal Resources, Eaton Peabody and the Maine Municipal Association.
Dacri brings a broad range of experience in the utility, business, nonprofit and municipal arenas, Pritchett said. The mayor said putting in place a more comprehensive recruitment approach will yield better candidates.
“It should not be viewed as a cost but as an investment in the community. A third misstep by the city would have a long-term adverse impact,” Pritchett said.
Finance Director Tom Luttrell has served as interim city manager since Smith’s departure. He also served as interim city manager between the departure of Kulow and the hiring of Smith. Luttrell has yet to say whether he will seek the job on a more long-term basis.
The mayor said Dacri will review applications and interview candidates and then recommend which ones the councilors should interview. The mayor said councilors will make the decision on whom they will interview.
The $17,000 does not include the cost of advertising or travel expenses for candidates. Pritchett said City Council should decide within the next month on a deadline for candidates to file applications for the post.
Dacri estimates the search will take between three to four months to complete. The election for two council seats is scheduled for Nov. 4.