Hallowell officials meet Monday night during a special meeting of the City Council to discuss the process for replacing outgoing City Manager Nate Rudy. Screenshot via Zoom

HALLOWELL — Councilors voted unanimously to spend up to $8,000 from contingency funds to hire a consultant to help find a new city manager.

City Manager Nate Rudy is leaving the position to become the town manager of Gray. Rudy’s final day in Hallowell is Feb. 25.

The council convened a special meeting via Zoom on Monday night to jump start the process of finding Rudy’s replacement.

City Councilor Diana Scully, chairperson of the council’s Personnel and Policy Committee, said she spoke with two consultants, who gave preliminary estimates of $6,000 and $6,400 for their services. Additional funds, she said, would go toward travel costs, advertisements and background checks.

Scully said there would be no additional charge if there needed to be a second round of job postings and interviews. Scully also floated the idea of having the council go through implicit bias training before interviewing candidates and asking consultants how they would attract a “diverse pool of applicants.

Councilor Kate Dufour said she supports hiring a consultant to assist the busy councilors with the hiring process. Dufour, who works as the director of state & federal relations for the Maine Municipal Association, said she would recuse herself from the selection of a consultant because she works with one of the consultants with whom Scully spoke.

Mayor George Lapointe said he has been considering an appointment of an interim city manager. An announcement of that appointment may come at the City Council meeting Monday. The appointment must be ratified by the City Council.

Lapointe said in January that an interim city manager did not have to be a city employee.

The successful motion also included a clause that gave the Personnel and Policy Committee the power to choose the consultant. Scully said the committee would solicit proposals from consultants before a decision was made.

Lapointe said that the city has had nine city managers in the last 20 years, and hiring for longevity should be a main focus.

During Monday’s meeting, Rudy said the money for the consultant could be pulled from contingency funds, which could result in an overage on the budget line. He said more funds could be pulled from overlay and city manager contingency lines, if needed.

Rudy’s current annual salary in Hallowell is $74,446. After starting in Gray on March 1, Rudy will earn $105,000, along with other benefits as part of his three-year contract.

In a January interview, Rudy said he looked forward to starting in Gray, which he said was a town looking to grow its sense of place.

“Gray is a great location between Auburn, Freeport and Portland,” he said. “It’s similar to the work we’ve done here in Hallowell.”

Rudy, a Readfield resident, previously worked as director of planning and development in Gardiner. Before becoming Hallowell’s city manager in 2016, Rudy was executive director for Waterville Creates!, a nonprofit organization for the promotion of arts and culture in Waterville.

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