The search for a new city manager continues in Gardiner.

Later this month, the City Council is expected to meet in executive session to discuss a candidate for the job, Mayor Thom Harnett said.

That’s the latest step in a process that launched in March, following the departure of then-City Manager Scott Morelli, who accepted the city manager’s position in South Portland on Feb. 1. His last day in Gardiner was March 3.

Gardiner city officials engaged the services of David Barrett, director of personnel services for the Maine Municipal Association to help with the search.

The city’s search process started with a needs assessment that included developing a candidate profile. Following recruitment, a system to rate candidates was developed, and resumes were reviewed and rated by the MMA’s personnel services director before they were presented to the City Council for its review. Following interviews and background checks, second interviews would be scheduled.

Advertising for applicants drew 38 applicants, Harnett said. Some applicants were from other states like Washington or California, but many were from Maine.

“There are a lot of searches going on in Maine, and that was reflected in the applicant pool,” Harnett said.

From that pool, six were identified and five were interviewed after one candidate withdrew. Two candidates were identified from that process.

“We want someone who wants to be here, who is a good fit and who wants to be here for a while,” Harnett said.

In the meantime, Gardiner Public Library Director Anne Davis, who had served as interim city manager for 10 months before Morelli was hired in 2010, was appointed to serve again as interim city manager. She and the city’s department heads, who were given additional responsibilities, were given a bump in pay for the duration of their expanded duties; Davis is receiving $325 weekly and the department heads are receiving an additional $175 weekly.

The agreement that spells out this arrangement is in effect for six months; if no city manager is on board, the agreement can be renegotiated.

“Scott was juggling more projects than I was aware of,” Davis said Thursday, so she has worked harder this time around to get up to speed on the city’s projects.

During Morelli’s tenure, the city worked to secure grants to pay for a range of projects across the city. Among them are the continuing work and development at the former T.W. Dick properties, the pending replacement of two bridges by the Maine Department of Transportation and the paving and water main replacement project that’s scheduled to get underway on Aug. 19.

And because the department heads are well versed in the city’s projects, she said, they can handle questions from residents and from city councilors.

“This has worked out wonderfully well, and it has opened up dialogs with councilors and residents,” she said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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