Council rejects Pritchett for search panel

Rockland may announce manager finalists

By Stephen Betts | Feb 06, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts The city manager search committee will meet again Wednesday, Feb. 8. This photo was taken during a Jan. 11 meeting.

Rockland — The city manager search committee has recommended that the names of the two eventual finalists for Rockland's top administrative post be made public prior to a selection by the council.

The search committee's proposal will go before the City Council for a vote Monday, Feb. 13.

There will be a summary provided about the two finalists and a public event for the finalists if the council agrees to the committee's recommendations.

The committee also wants the city to set aside $8,500 to hire the Maine Municipal Association to assist in the search process, as well as for expenses such as advertising.

A timetable for advertising and interviewing candidates has not yet been determined.

At the council's Thursday, Feb. 2, meeting, a proposal by Mayor Will Clayton to allow former Councilor Larry Pritchett to remain on the search committee failed on a tie vote.

Pritchett resigned from the council Jan. 31, but had wanted to remain on the search committee.

At the Feb. 2 meeting, Councilors Ed Glaser and Valli Geiger voted against appointing Pritchett as a third community member to the search committee. Clayton and Councilor Adam Ackor voted for Pritchett's appointment.

Geiger said there are other citizens who had wanted to serve on the committee and it was not fair to allow Pritchett to move ahead of those people.

Glaser said Pritchett dominated the previous meeting of the search committee, arguing against the former councilor's remaining on the panel.

Clayton had wanted to appoint Pritchett as an additional citizen representative and have Geiger replace Pritchett as a council representative to the panel. The 2-2 vote, however, blocked both of those moves.

There remain seven members of the panel -- Stephen Carroll and Constance Hayes are community members, Ackor represents the council, Fire Chief Christopher Whytock and finance department member Wanda Harvey are municipal employees on the panel and Patricia Moran Wotton and Chelsea Avirett will represent the city's personnel board.

Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Audra Caler Bell has served as interim manager since James Chaousis resigned in June 2016.

Comments (13)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | Feb 12, 2017 10:16

A "positive" approach my octopus.  Looked through the news this morning.  Hadn't noticed the add-on caption in red:  "Council rejects Pritchett for search panel."  These little press secretary tweeks are needlessly volatile..

Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Feb 10, 2017 14:13

The big picture here is that James Chaousis left the position of City Manager in Rockland in June of 2016 and the Council has dragged this on to what will likely be 12 months before the position had been filled. And now the city is down one Councilor for representation and voting purposes and the Council wants to postpone this until the June primary.  This is not in the best interest of the City nor its residents.


Posted by: Stephen Betts | Feb 10, 2017 11:12

There is no advertisement for city manager yet because the search committee has yet to develop what qualifications are wanted in the next chief administrator. Once that is done, ads will be posted and applications accepted.

Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Feb 10, 2017 08:47

Good lord.  Have you stopped to consider the reason you are unable to find the position posted on the Maine Municipal Associations web site is because they are down to their two finalists, and they are no longer accepting applications for the position?


John Murphy

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Feb 09, 2017 22:10

Hi there L A B


So now you know that Rockland's city hall has absolutely no rush in finding a new City Manager???

Would like to get an answer from city hall . . . . Regretfully I am expecting "Alternative Facts" as the answer . . . .


Posted by: Lynne A Barnard | Feb 09, 2017 10:58

WAIT A MINUTE...I just went on line to search for City Manager jobs at Maine Municipal Association and found not one mention of a job opening in Rockland, Maine.  However, I did find one for Camden, Maine.  How is it that this job isn't even being advertised where Camden's is?  As far as I can tell from further research, Kevin Beal has no credentials as a City Manager.  He is an Attorney.  When and by whom is his name being bandied about for the City Manager job?

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Feb 08, 2017 19:42

If it is the case that Kevin Beal has already been chosen, then, by all means, just get on with it.  The heck with proper procedures; they seem not to apply here anyway.  But I am going to propose a different tack in the search, whether pre-chosen or not, and it's this:  dispense with the demand that whoever serves do so for a long time.  Advertise saying that what is expected, and will be supported, is a three-year commitment.  Not more.  It makes no sense to try to get any city manager to sign on for life.  The average stay anywhere is three years to five years.  More often three.  So, don't judge a potential candidate on how many decades he or she might profess to be willing to stay, but on their qualifications.  Set up the work contract so that there are goals that are to be met by the city manager by end of year three.  But also, City Managers who are part of an elected Mayor-City Manager form of government probably stay longer because they have more power.  I think Rockland is moving towards a change in government style anyway.  But a three year commitment, tops.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Feb 08, 2017 18:12

The city manager search is a total waste of time and taxpayer's moneys.

City council has already decided to have Kevin Beal as the next city manager.

Let us watch this circus and we will all fake surprise the moment they announce the winner . . . .

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Feb 07, 2017 23:56

First post both the advertisement text for City Manager, and the job description and duties.   -- Is it a "panel" or a Search Committee"?  But I did figure out my misreading of ""Glaser said Pritchett dominated the previous meeting of the search committee, arguing against the former councilor's remaining on the panel."  Why did the other seven members of the search committee allow Pritchett to "dominate the meeting" if that's what occurred.  The committee is charged with committee will establishing minimum qualifications, experience and/or accomplishments for applicants, soliciting applications, reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, certifying candidates to the city council and advising the city council as to the selection of a new city manager.  Has that changed, and if not, what is left for the role of the Maine Municipal Association.  Will all applications be reviewed by the Search Committee, or will they be pre-selected for review by someone on the city staff.  I think three possibilities for the position is better than two. I am not comfortable with the "public event" plan which will put candidates on public display and not necessarily to their advantage as the one with the best "face" will be the most popular.  (Didn't we just do that on a national level?) 

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Feb 07, 2017 20:42

Hi there L A B


I though I was the only one smelling a humongous stinking ghat!!!


Not for one second I am willing to drink city council's Kool-Aid and/or believe in the resignation letter.


Do The People of Rockland realize that city hall lives in an alternative universe where council is always right and The People always wrong? Just count the number of councilors and personnel that came and went during the last 2-3 years . . . .


Posted by: Lynne A Barnard | Feb 07, 2017 11:31

WHAT???  Larry Pritchett, who by his own admission is too emotionally distraught to fulfill his duties as a City Council member, now wants to remain on the Search Committee for the new City Manager?  Meanwhile, the City has to fund a new election to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Pritchett's resignation only months after his election????  There is something profoundly wrong with this picture.

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Feb 06, 2017 18:08

Was Councilor Pritchett's resignation formally accepted?  As to Geiger's "fairness," she wanted to be on the Search Committee and stated that strongly, along with her objections to not getting that seat. 


Also - what does this sentence mean?  "Glaser said Pritchett dominated the previous meeting of the search committee, arguing against the former councilor's remaining on the panel."  Glaser and Pritchett were dominating the previous meeting arguing against which former councilor remaining on the panel? 

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Feb 06, 2017 12:11

Nice to see a sense of fairness stated by Councilor Geiger. Now we need somebody independent of the four remaining councilors to keep it fair. I have an idea who wants that seat and it wouldn't be good.

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