Interim job holder on short list of Brunswick manager candidates

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BRUNSWICK — Interim Town Manager John Eldridge is one of six town manager applicants the Town Council intends to interview for the job.

The six semifinalists were chosen from a field of 49 applicants, Council Chairman Benet Pols said Tuesday. 

Several of the “significant contenders” were among 17 applicants who submitted paperwork to the town at the last minute, Pols said. 

Candidates for the position come from 30 states, and ranged in experience from managers of large urban areas to administrators of towns of as few as 8,000 people, he said. 

The six semifinalists are all from New England, with three candidates from Maine and others from Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. They have a mix of municipal and private-sector experience, Pols added. 

Five of the six are currently managers of substantial municipalities, he said, and the sixth heads a large city department with a larger annual budget than Brunswick’s.

He declined to identify the applicants other than Eldridge, because they may not have informed their current employers they are applying elsewhere.

Councilors expect to complete first-round interviews with the six candidates by the end of July, Pols said. 

Eldridge has served as interim town manager since former Town Manager Gary Brown was dismissed by the Town Council in February. 

He has been Brunswick’s finance director for almost 26 years, and was town manager in Bradley, near Old Town, for three years, and town manager in South Berwick for five years before that.

In an email, Eldridge declined to answer questions regarding his decision to apply for the position.

“I don’t feel it is appropriate for me to comment at this time beyond confirming that I have an interview,” Eldridge said. 

Having Eldridge on the list of candidates who have been offered an interview shouldn’t be understood as a guarantee he will get the job, Pols said, although the fact that Eldridge “made the cut” indicates councilors have a “generally favorable” perception of the job he’s doing.

“There are other components to this that need to be considered,” Pols added, “and everybody needs to have their opportunity to compare him to other people, for one thing.”

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast.