Brunswick council seeks consensus, but no decision, on new town manager

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BRUNSWICK — The Town Council is scheduled to meet privately Aug. 3 to discuss the selection of a new town manager.

Councilors aren’t expected to announce their choice until later in  August.

Instead, the executive session is supposed to yield a consensus on the top candidate and for the town-hired consultant to begin contract negotiations.

Names of the final two candidates were released last week: acting Town Manager Gary Brown and the assistant city manager in Auburn, Laurie Smith. Both emerged from a field of six candidates who were interviewed by citizen and employee panels before being interviewed by the council.

The council has come under fire for the time it has taken to conduct the manager search. The new manager will succeed Don Gerrish, who announced his retirement last September and left the position five months later. The council did not settle on a search consultant until this spring. 

At least one councilor has expressed frustration with the duration of the search. Last week Councilor Gerald Favreau e-mailed Chairwoman Hallie Daughtry requesting that the Aug. 3 agenda include an action item finalizing the search. Daughtry, he said, had initially told him that the reason the council wasn’t moving more quickly was because several councilors were on vacation. 

Favreau responded that vacations could take place “until Christmas.”

On Monday, Favreau backed off his criticism, saying the search process required the council to form a consensus before the consultant begins negotiations with the finalist. 

“I wasn’t aware of that at first,” Favreau said. “When we last met there was no consensus. … I was worried that if we put this off any longer we’d lose momentum.”

The Aug. 3 closed-door session will precede the council’s regularly scheduled meeting. The council is expected to schedule another special meeting after negotiations with the finalist are complete.

It’s unclear how long negotiations will take.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or