Rockland's City Council voted 3-1 Aug. 26 to spend $17,000 on a firm to recruit the next city manager.

Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf voted against the motion. Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson was absent at the time of the vote.

The city hired Dacri Associates to assist in the hunt for the new city manager. Mayor Larry Pritchett said in an email Aug. 27 that the cost of the recruiting firm is offset by the fact the city is not paying the $92,000 per year city manager salary while Finance Director Thomas Luttrell is acting as city manager.

The city is looking to replace former manager James Smith, who resigned in December.

"As the Rockland community is very aware, Rockland was served by two different city managers in the five-year span of 2009 through 2013," Pritchett said. "…Turnover in manager's office has cost the city in productivity, staff morale, and missed opportunities."

The council considered four firms: Municipal Resources, Eaton Peabody, Maine Municipal Association, and Dacri Associates.

Pritchett said Dacri stood out because it brings a broad range of experience, not only with the municipal world, but in utilities, business and nonprofit arenas.

Councilor Eric Hebert said (according to the email from Pritchett): "The last two city manager searches failed to provide the Council the desired result. The council settled on one candidate, none of the candidates met all the council’s expectations, and the candidate vetting process was insufficient."

"…Undertaking another search, utilizing the same approach as was done the last two times, will not provide Rockland what it needs."

Courier Publications News Director Daniel Dunkle can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 122 or ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com.