CAPE ELIZABETH — The town’s tax assessor and the town manager of Naples are the two finalists for Cape Elizabeth town manager.
Ephrem Paraschak of Naples and assessor Matthew Sturgis were announced as finalists Wednesday by the Town Council and Town Manager Mike McGovern. McGovern is retiring Dec. 31 after 31 years as town manager.
Sturgis, of Gray, and Paraschak are scheduled to meet town department heads and the school superintendent on Jan. 3, 2017. The same day at 6 p.m., members of the public are invited to meet the two candidates at Thomas Memorial Library.
On Jan. 4, Sturgis and Paraschak will each have second interviews with the Town Council. The council plans to the announce its final choice the second week in January.
Sturgis, 48, has been the town’s tax assessor for 16 years and said the town manager position is “a tremendous opportunity.”
“It’s something I’ve aspired to and over the years I’ve worked to gain the necessary skills,” he said Wednesday.
Sturgis is also chairman of the Town Council in Gray, where he has been a councilor since July 2008. He said he would step down from panel if hired as town manager.
Experience working in Cape Elizabeth is something Sturgis said he hopes will work to his advantage. He said he already understands how the town operates and already knows many people in the community.
“I think I could do a solid job managing the town and working with the Town Council to determine the direction the town needs to head in,” Sturgis said.
Paraschak, 32, has been the town manager of Naples for 2 1/2 years. Prior to that, he was the town manager of Denmark for six years. On Wednesday he said being the town manager of Cape Elizabeth would be “a once-in-a-career opportunity.”
“One particular reason would be that Cape Elizabeth has a great reputation in terms of municipal government,” he said. “It’s also one of the most recognizable towns in the state.”
Paraschak said that while he doesn’t have the same experience working in town that Sturgis has, he does have the experience and skill set of being a town manager.
According to McGovern, who announced his retirement in August, the town received 38 applications for the position. Six candidates were interviewed by the council Dec. 13-15.
The Augusta-based consulting group Eaton Peabody has been facilitating the search.
In November, the Town Council appointed Assistant Town Manager/Town Clerk Debra Lane interim town manager starting Jan. 1 until a new manager is in place.
McGovern has also agreed to act as a consultant to the town for six months after his resignation takes effect.