HALLOWELL — After months of searching, Hallowell City Council voted this week to appoint Gary Lamb as city manager, effective Aug. 9.

Gary Lamb

Lamb currently serves as Waterboro’s town administrator.

“He’s been the city manager in a number of towns,” said Hallowell Mayor George Lapointe. “He has tons of experience, so we’re pretty excited about it.”

After an executive session during Tuesday night’s special meeting, the City Council voted 5-1 to hire Lamb. Councilor Maureen AuCoin was the sole vote in opposition, and Councilor Patrick Wynne was not present. Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

Lapointe said the city went through an extensive search process before appointing Lamb, and consulted with David Barrett, director of personnel services and labor relations at the Maine Municipal Association. Notices were sent via the MMA website and the International City/County Management Association.

And in the city’s efforts to cast a wide net and recruit a diverse pool of applicants, Lapointe said they also sent applications out to an organization of female city executives and people of color.

The city had 35 applications, which were later narrowed down to 17, and five finalists were interviewed. Lamb’s contract was approved Tuesday night.

In February, Hallowell Code Enforcement Officer Doug Ide was appointed as interim manager as outgoing City Manager Nate Rudy left to become Gray’s town manager.

Lamb, who is set to begin Aug. 9, said he was inspired to apply for numerous reasons. He said he was impressed with the degree of citizen involvement in such a small town, and also with the seven-member council and mayor opting to meet only once a month while relying on seven council subcommittees to more deeply explore city issues.

“That is rare to have that level of organization and communication in such a small municipality,” Lamb said, “and it shows strong community vision in how to govern itself.”

He said he looks forward to meeting individually with city councilors, getting to know them better personally and understanding their priorities.

Lamb said he also has a strong interest in working with the business community.

“One by one I will walk through the business section of the city to introduce myself so business owners can put a name to a face,” he said.

Lamb said he is also looking forward to the upcoming six-month status report of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access task force to see what diversity and equity issues are identified.

His history also includes three years as Greenville town manager and director of planning and community development in Old Orchard Beach. He is an active member of the Maine Town and City Managers Association. He also received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in wildlife management from the University of Maine.

Dennis Abbott, Waterboro Board of Selectmen chairperson, worked with Lamb since he was hired in 2013. At that time, the town was undergoing a major charter revision, which changed the town administrator’s roles and responsibilities to that of a manager.

While the revision wasn’t without its difficulties, Abbott said it was ultimately the best for the town.

“I think it was good for us all,” he said, “and certainly (Lamb) contributed an immense amount to that.”

Roughly two years ago, when the town extended Lamb’s three-year contract to end in June 2022, Abbott said there was a mutual understanding that Lamb would move onto new endeavors.

“We knew that, ultimately, he’d be off to pursue new — what he would refer to as ‘unknown life adventures,'” he said. “We all mutually agreed that this would probably be his last three-year contract with us, and that was not based on performance issues or anything of that nature. It was based on reaching that age of contemplating retirement, like a lot of us have, or just doing something different.”

Abbott said the transition won’t be as smooth as it would’ve if Lamb had left next June, however the town will likely appoint the fire chief as an interim manager and commence their search for a new, permanent manager.

“I don’t think there’s any bad feelings about that,” he said, “it just escalates our plan.”

Lamb announced his resignation Wednesday, after Hallowell approved his contract for city manager. Abbott said Lamb made sure town officials were aware of his application, and that it was just a matter of waiting to hear back from Hallowell.

“We wish him well,” Abbott said. “He’s been good for us.”

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