WATERVILLE — The public will have a chance to say what they want to see in a new city manager as part of a search being launched by the city and Eaton Peabody Consulting Group.

Eaton, based in Augusta, is being paid $9,000 by the city to help find a successor to Steve Daly, who resigned abruptly in December. Assistant City Manager Bill Post is acting city manager until someone is hired.

Don Gerrish and Cornell Knight of Eaton Peabody met with councilors in a workshop Tuesday night to discuss a timeline for the search and related matters.

“Hopefully by the first week in May, you’ll have an individual and you’ll know when they’re going to start,” Gerrish said.

Typically, once a new city manager is chosen, the person starts the job 30 to 45 days afterward, he said.

He and Knight plan to put a draft job advertisement together, send it to councilors for review and then post it for three or four weeks. “We’ll plan on advertising as soon as we get the OK,” Gerrish said.


Gerrish said he and Knight plan to come to Waterville and meet with department heads, one-on-one, to ask what they see as issues facing Waterville in the next five years, as well as what they are looking for in a new city manager. They also plan to host a public session in which they will ask the same two questions. They said they hosted a similar public session in Rockland and 85 people showed up.

“I think it’s a great idea and I think the people in the community really appreciate the chance to talk to you, and (express) what they’d like to see,” said Council Chairwoman Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4.

Gerrish said a deadline has been set for all resumes to be received by Tuesday, March 21. He and Knight will review them and by March 24, they will recommend to the council which candidates they should interview. By then, Eaton will have done preliminary background checks on those candidates, he said.

He said he suspects there will be at least 25-40 applicants. They plan to set up two rounds of interviews, with each taking about an hour. Complete background checks will be done on finalists, Gerrish said. Department heads may also meet the candidates, according to Gerrish. The city would fund the cost of having finalists come to Waterville in late April, tour the city and its buildings, including the police and fire fire departments, and recreation facilities. They also would be interviewed by department heads, councilors and the mayor.

Gerrish said Eaton Peabody offers to negotiate a contract with the finalist, He recommended advertising the position on the city’s website; with Maine Municipal Association, which does it free of charge; and the International City Manager’s Association, which would cost $450 for a month. The New Hampshire and Massachusetts municipal associations also are an option, and to advertise with both would cost $500, Gerrish said.

When Daly left office, he was earning an annual salary of $130,000. Gerrish said he thinks it should be advertised for at least $120,000. The town of York advertised for between $145,000 and $155,000 and didn’t receive any applicants, he said. The job was re-advertised at $155,000 to $175,000 and the town just hired someone for $175,000, he said, adding that salaries must be at a range that attracts candidates that a community wants. After discussing the range with councilors on Tuesday, Gerrish said he would recommend a salary of $130,000 to $160,000.

Green said she wanted the advertisement to say the city welcomes people of color and women to apply to get a diverse pool of candidates.

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