Portland council nominates Finnigan as acting city manager

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PORTLAND — The City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 16, will vote to appoint Assistant City Manager Patricia Finnigan as the acting city manager.

Finnigan, who started as assistant manager in 2007 after being Auburn’s city manager for 13 years, will take over from City Manager Joe Gray, whose previously announced retirement is effective Feb. 11.

“I am confident that she will make this transition seamless and keep us on track as we enter a new congressional and legislative year as well as begin our own budgetary process,” Mayor Nicholas Mavodones said in a prepared statement.

Finnigan, who was nominated following a Jan. 3 executive session, will serve as acting city manager while the council conducts a nationwide search, a six-month process that will be spearheaded by a professional firm with experience in municipal hiring.

Finnigan said she appreciated the opportunity to lead the city while councilors conduct a nationwide search for a permanent mayor.

She said much of her work will be to ensure there is a seamless transition, not only for the new manager, but for the new mayor, who will be elected by residents, not the council.

“Joe (Gray) has left the city is great shape,” she said. “This is an exciting time for Portland.”

Prior to the Jan. 19 meeting, the council will hold a workshop about the search process for a new city manager.

Quinn, who worked with an elected mayor when she was Auburn’s manager, said she may apply for the full time position, if her skills are in line with the the council’s expectations.

Mavodones said the search process will be transparent and allow opportunities for the public to offer input.

“Finding the right person to lead the city of Portland is the most important thing a City Council can do,” Mavodones said. 

“The time line I propose allows us the flexibility we need to conduct a thorough nationwide search while keeping us on track to find a replacement in time to address current city business.”

Finnigan, who also served as a Bangor city councilor, has served as a liaison to state and federal agencies, working to secure funding for the mega-berth at the Ocean Gateway Terminal and coordinating funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

While city manager of Auburn, Finnigan is credited with initiating and implementing a master plan to revitalize its downtown.

She is also credited with implementing a strategic economic development plan that led to more than $100 million of private investment in the city.

Auburn also received a bond rating upgrade to the A category in 2000, the first time since the late 1980s.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net

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Patricia Finnigan has been nominated to replace Portland City Manager Joe Gray when he steps down on Feb. 11.

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