Portland City Hall official a finalist for top Gorham job

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PORTLAND — Michael Murray, an assistant to City Manager Jon Jennings, is one of two finalists to become Gorham town manager.

“If I am the chosen candidate I would consider this the capstone of my career. I would consider myself very, very fortunate,” Murray said May 24.

A May 24 press release from the Gorham Town Council said Murray and Naples Town Manager Efrem Paraschak are finalists to replace current Town Manager David Cole.

The finalists will meet with town department heads and Superintendent Heather Perry on June 8. At 6:30 p.m. the same day, the public is invited to meet Murray and Paraschak.

Town Councilors will hold a second round of interviews with Murray and Paraschak on June 13, and expect to name Cole’s replacement the following week. A starting date is expected to be announced at the same time.

Cole announced in March he would retire Sept. 29 after serving since 1994.

“When the announcement came David Cole was planning to retire, I thought what an honor to be able to serve the community you live in,” said Murray, who has been a resident of Gorham for 14 years.

Murray has 13 years’ experience in Portland government, beginning in the Parks & Recreation Department, and has been a superintendent of Evergreen Cemetery on Stevens Avenue.

“I also have served the people of greater Portland for approximately 20 years in both employee and management positions in the death care industry,” Murray said.

While he preferred to let the Gorham selection process play out and to meet the public and officials there as part of it, he did speak well of working in the city.

“Anyone who works in government, people should enjoy working with the public. I enjoy the people I work with,” he said.

Murray had a five-year hiatus from city government, and has also served as the city’s Island/Neighborhood administrator.

“They are very distinct communities, each one of the neighborhoods and the islands has their own identity and personality,” he said.

Former Mayor Michael Brennan worked closely with Murray during his tenure, and said May 25 Murray’s experience and abilities would be well suited for the Gorham job.

“I didn’t know anyone else in city government who knew as much about the facets of city government as Mike did,” Brennan said. “I don’t remember a time when I went to him with a question and he said, ‘I don’t know.’”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.


Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.