Christopher Ryan, left, was a candidate for the city manager’s job in Gardiner, when he spoke with Peter Johnson Sept. 28 at an informal community gathering for residents to meet the candidate. Jessica Lowell/Kennebec Journal file

GARDINER — The top candidate for the city manager post in Gardiner has withdrawn his candidacy, and officials will continue their search.

Gardiner Mayor Patricia Hart said Thursday that Christopher Ryan had withdrawn and the search for a city manager would continue and the position would be advertised again.

Hart said via email that the reason given was that it was not a good fit right now.

In a letter to Gardiner elected officials, Ryan said he was honored and grateful for the city’s offer of a contract.

“I have given this position a significant amount of thought, consultation, and research and find that at this time, the position is not a good fit for me,” he wrote. “This decision was not an easy one and I found the citizens, elected officials, staff, and the community itself to be wonderful and friendly. Gardiner has a gorgeous downtown and great natural surroundings. However, given my proximity to retirement, particular challenges I learned of during my visit that the position presents, and personal reasons, I do not feel as though this job is the right one for me.”

Ryan, 61, was the top candidate among 12 who applied for the city manager’s position. Five of those 12 were invited to interview, but two withdrew. Of the remaining three, Ryan was invited to Gardiner for a second interview, the opportunity to meet city staff and tour the community and to take part in an informal community gathering to meet with city residents.


Ryan is currently the director of economic and community development for Harvard, Massachusetts, a town of about 6,800 people northwest of Boston.

The vacancy was created by the resignation of Christine Landes in March, shortly before the end of her three-year contract with the city. Since then, Anne Davis, who is the director of the Gardiner Public Library and the city’s information technology director, has been filling in as acting city manager. She has served in a similar capacity twice before, first for 10 months before Scott Morelli was hired, then for 17 months between when Morelli left to take another job and before Landes was hired.

Gardiner is among several communities that have undertaken searches for top administrators.

In June, Hallowell hired Gary Lamb as city manager. Lamb was one of five finalists drawn from 35 applications, and he started work in Hallowell in August.

Kennebec County commissioners announced earlier this week they have hired Scott Ferguson as county administrator. He is expected to start in November, following the retirement of Robert Devlin, the current administrator.

The city of Augusta is continuing its search for a city manager. Longtime manager William Bridgeo retired from the post last month. As the search continues, Susan Robertson, the city’s director of human resources and assistant city manager, was appointed to serve as acting city manager until a permanent replacement is found.

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