Virginia management consultant is finalist for Rockland manager

By Stephen Betts | May 20, 2017
Source: Craig Daily Press, Craig, Colorado Chris Philbrick

Rockland — A management consultant from Virginia with extensive managerial experience with the Army is the finalist for the Rockland city manager post.

Christopher Philbrick of Dumfries, Va. is the finalist who was unanimously recommended to the city council by the city manager search committee.

Philbrick has been a management consultant since 2011 specializing in government consulting with a municipal service focus, according to his resume provided by the mayor. He was executive director for the Department of the Army in Washington. D.C. from 2009 through 2011 where Philbrick said he was a principal advisory to the Secretary of the Army.

On his Linkedin page he said he was hand picked by the chief operating officer of the U.S. Army to serve as his principal advisor, with direct oversight of the Army’s health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention programs.

In 2008 and 2009 he served as principal municipal advisor to the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Iraq.

From July 2005 through May 2008, he was garrison commander of Fort Irwin, Calif., the Army's largest maneuver training center with a post population of 23,000 soldiers, civilians and family members. The military base's annual budget was $378 million with 2,000 full-time employees.

His 35 months as garrison commander was the longest tenure in the center's history, according to an article in the Desert Dispatch of Barstow, Calif.

Philbrick oversaw the spending of $50 million in projects at Fort Irwin to improve the quality of life for soldiers, civilians and family members, according to the article. Under Philbrick’s command, three barracks were renovated and more funding was secured for other improvements to barracks. Several new housing development were built during Philbrick’s command, shortening the average wait for housing at Fort Irwin from six months to two weeks.

Prior to that he served as deputy manager in Fort Rucker, Alabama from 2000 through 2002.

He earned a bachelor's of art degree in government from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He earned a master's of arts in management in 2003 from Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and a master's of art degree in strategic planning from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Philbrick was born and raised in Maine and joined the Army after high school, according to Councilor Adam Ackor who served on the search committee.

Philbrick was one of three finalists in December for the city manager job in Craig, Colorado, according to the Craig Daily Press. He was one of nine applicants for city manager of Fort Smith, Arkansas in February 2016. He was also one of four candidates for city manager in Fairborn, Ohio in February 2017. He was also a candidate for the manager job at Port St. Lucie, Florida in August 2016.

The Rockland City Council has yet to announce when it will meet with Philbrick.

He was one of four candidates interviewed by the Rockland search committee and the only name forwarded to the council.

The Rockland Council voted 4-0 at its Feb. 6 meeting to direct the search committee to recommend two candidates.

Councilor Valli Geiger said Thursday the council and public had expected that there would be multiple names presented rather than just one. She said her concerns are not about the particular candidate or the work of the committee which she praised.

Councilor Ed Glaser said he too would like to have a choice. He also said he would like to have the names of those people who applied.

Glaser praised the work of the search committee, saying its work has been exemplary and it has done a lot of work.

Clayton said earlier in the week that the candidate has ties to Maine. Clayton said the council will then set up an interview with the finalist, as well as introducing the person to the department heads and citizens of Rockland.

"Understanding that this process takes time, we are hopeful to expedite it as quickly as we can. The search committee needs to be recognized and commended for what they have achieved and in the manner they did it in," the mayor said on Monday.

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

Chaousis served for 16 months from May 2015 through June 2016. He succeeded James Smith who was manager from April 2012 through December 2013. Finance Director Tom Luttrell served as interim manager from when Smith left until Chaousis was hired.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | May 20, 2017 19:31

Amy, What are you seeing as negative conclusions?

Posted by: Amy Files | May 20, 2017 16:37

Kathryn - I have the opposite opinion of yours. My sense was that the whole point of having a committe process was that a larger group of diverse people created an agreed upon vetting and criteria to fairly apply to all candidates. Having Councilors pick and choose their favorites from the pool based on their own personal preferences and biases defeats the whole purpose of the committe process and we might as well not have had the committee members volunteer all of those hours to go through it. We should at least give this candidate a fair chance ( and thorough vetting ) before jumping to negative conclusions.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | May 20, 2017 02:03

Questions to the candidate:


1]  On April of last year you state making $130,500. Why come to Rockland and make less money?


2] If you were running a successful consulting business, why search for a managers job?


3] How many job applications have you sent out during the last 24 months?


Question to council:


1]  Would you contact all the towns he unsuccessfully applied and find out why we was rejected?


2] Where is the candidate's Maine connection?


Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | May 19, 2017 18:33

If anyone has the stamina to read through a 56 page Florida candidate report done in 2015, it is incredibly detailed.  One issue that needs to be considered is the candidate's approach in dealing with employees.  Mr.  Philbrick is a Lt. Col.  Our previous manager had a military background which reflected a different style than what the community was used to.  The report may be found at


Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | May 19, 2017 18:09

It is said that the Council could not accept him.  What if they did, then looked at the other candidates, and decided he was the best.  They would have already rejected him.  I believe the Council has the right to look at all candidates before a decision is made.  If not, it is likely to always be an issue with the public.  Hopefully internet searches have already been done.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | May 19, 2017 14:45

In 2008 and 2009 he served as principal municipal advisor to the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Iraq.


And look at Baghdad today . . . .

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