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FREEPORT — The search to replace longtime Town Manager Dale Olmstead Jr. has been narrowed to Bethel Town Manager James G. Doar, and Lincoln, N.H., Town Manager Peter E. Joseph Jr.
Town Council Chairman Jim Cassida said he hopes the final selection will be made public at an Aug. 7 council meeting.
Doar and Joseph were selected from a field of six candidates interviewed in the last 10 days, including one local candidate. Cassida said three men and three women were interviewed, and the local applicant was the only one without town management experience.
“Any one of them would be an excellent town manager,” Cassida said.
According to the Lincoln, N.H. website, Joseph has served as town mamager since May 2008 and has municipal experience in Peterborough, N.H., and Andover, Mass.
Doar has been town mamager in Bethel for three years and served in the same capacity in Rumford.
The selection process will continue with more interviews the week of July 9. Town department heads and the public will have the chance to meet Doar and Joseph July 12 when both of them visit town for a day.
The public introduction sessions will be at the Freeport Community Center, 53 Depot St. Joseph will be available from 6-7 p.m., followed by Doar from 7:15-8:15 p.m.
The selection process will continue with public and council comments at a July 19 council meeting. Cassida said the meeting date was shifted from July 17 to accommodate councilor vacation schedules.
The six candidates were among a larger group of 41 who applied for the position held by Olmstead for 30 years. Olmstead is planning to work with his replacement beginning in September and then fully retire in October.
The search process began in earnest in April as consultants from Augusta-based Eaton Peabody Consulting Group hosted a forum to get public input on the qualities most desired in a new town manager.
Eaton Peabody is represented by Don Gerrish and Richard Metivier, two longtime municipal employees who said prior searches they conducted drew between 25 and 40 applications.
Cassida said the consultants are still receiving public comment about the process and finalists, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments will be forwarded to town councilors.
“I think it has been a very good process to date,” Cassida said. “I have been very pleased with Eaton Peabody, they have helped us maneuver through this. It has been a very engaged process.”