SOUTH PORTLAND — The candidate picked Monday to replace former City Manager Jim Gailey declined the job on Wednesday.
Ed Collins, who was selected from a field of more than 20 applicants, informed the City Council of his decision in a 150-word message. His statement was released by interim City Manager Don Gerrish.
Mayor Tom Blake at the Nov. 7 City Council meeting announced the city had offered the job to Collins, who provisionally accepted, pending the successful completion of negotiations. The council planned to formally hire Collins at its Nov. 21 meeting.
“After careful consideration of the entirety of my experiences in the selection process,” Collins said in his message, “I am compelled to inform you this morning that I will not be executing the contract put forward by the city of South Portland. … It is clear to me that I am not the right person for the job at this time.
“I recognize that my decision creates some difficulty for the City Council. I apologize for that, but I feel strongly that getting the right person on the job is more important than sticking to a strict schedule or process.”
Collins and the other finalist for the position, James Ross, of Georgia, met with residents last week before Collins was chosen.
He is a Maine native and a graduate of the University of Maine. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was town manager of Baileyville and Lubec, community development director in Calais, and executive director of the Quoddy Region Job Opportunity Zone in Washington County.
Gerrish on Wednesday said he will likely stay on until the council hires a full-time replacement. He said the city will not have to spend any more money with Gerrish’s law firm, Eaton Peabody, to conduct a renewed search.
“We’ll stay here and work with them until we find someone,” he said.
The council is expected to discuss how to proceed with a new search at a workshop Monday, Nov. 14.
Gerrish said he will recommend that councilors consider whether they want to change anything in the search process.