Portland city manager search continues without Hill-Christian

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PORTLAND — While the search firm working to replace former City Manager Mark Rees seeks public input, acting City Manager Sheila Hill-Christian last week removed her name from consideration.

Hill-Christian has served as acting manager since Sept. 4, 2014. She was appointed by the City Council after Rees resigned. But on March 17 she said she is not interested in the permanent job.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that council has given me to serve, however I moved to Portland with the intention of serving as deputy city manager and continue to believe that working in that capacity is a better fit with my personal and professional goals,” Hill-Christian said in a statement.

Meredith, New Hampshire-based Municipal Resources was hired by the committee lead by Mayor Michael Brennan to conduct the search. The public has until March 31 to participate in an online survey to help guide the search.

Hill-Christian was hired by Rees in January 2013 to be the first deputy city manager and has also served as interim City Hall spokeswoman before the city hired Jessica Grondin.

Before coming to Portland, Hill-Christian worked in a variety of public positions in the Richmond, Virginia, area and also ran her own consulting firm.

As acting city manager, Hill-Christian is overseeing the municipal budget for next year and has hired several new department heads, including Dawn Stiles in the Department of Health and Human Services, Brendan O’Connell as finance director and Gina Tapp to direct Human Resources.

Amendments to the City Charter require the mayor to form a search committee. Brennan appointed Councilors Nick Mavodones Jr., Jill Duson and Ed Suslovic to the committee, which selected Municipal Resources in December 2014.

The goal is to have a new city manager hired by the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year on July 1.

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

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Sheila Hill-Christian

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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.