MANCHESTER — Interim Town Manager Debora Southiere said she and other officials were “taken by surprise” when longtime Town Manager Patrick Gilbert announced his resignation in mid-July.

Former Manchester Town Manager Patrick Gilbert seen during a Select Board meeting in March 2020, resigned in mid-July after about 12 years on the job. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Gilbert, who had been on the job for more than a decade, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Southiere, who is the town clerk, said municipal officials were sad to see him go but happy he is moving on with a new job at the Greater Augusta Utility District.

With the help of the Maine Municipal Association, select board members now have 20 applications for the position and will review them during an executive session at their upcoming meeting next Tuesday. After that, Southiere said they will set up interviews and move forward with the hiring process.

Selectman Doug Ide said they may do a second or third round of interviews after narrowing down the applicants.

“We’re in good hands with our interim manager,” he said, “so we’re not in any rush.”


Gilbert became town manager more than a decade ago, shortly after Mark Doyon, the previous town manager, died at just 50 years old after a battle with an extended illness.

Gilbert had been working as Manchester’s code enforcement officer before becoming town manager, according to Southiere.

Southiere said Gilbert told officials he wanted to pursue something different. “He had been doing it for quite some time, and he just needed a change,” she said, adding: “Everyone here was very happy with him as our boss. So we were all kind of sad to see him go, but happy that he’s moving on.”

Even so, Ide said that he and others were “a little surprised,” by his departure.

“We knew it was coming,” he said, “we just didn’t know when.”

One resident wrote to the Kennebec Journal and said it was concerning that the website has not updated its minutes since Gilbert left, making the circumstances surrounding his departure unclear. Ide said the town’s code enforcement officer also left around the same time as Gilbert, and that as a result town officials were catching up and the website may not be up to date.

Southiere, who is still working as the town clerk while serving as interim town manager, said the town website does reflect that she is now the interim town manager and that the minutes and agendas on the website were updated by Thursday.

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