South Portland council picks Collins for city manager

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SOUTH PORTLAND — One of two finalists has been chosen as the city’s new manager.

Mayor Tom Blake announced at the Nov. 7 City Council meeting that councilors are negotiating with Edward Collins and expect to take formal action at their Nov. 21 meeting. 

Collins, of Lehi, Utah, and James “Ty” Ross, of Dalton, Georgia, were finalists for the job, selected from a pool of 23 applicants.

The Maine native was a business services manager in West Valley City, Utah. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was town manager of Baileyville and Lubec, Maine, community development director in Calais, and executive director of the Quoddy Region Job Opportunity Zone in Washington County.

For the last decade Collins has been the general manager for an engineering firm in Utah.

Collins, 51, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Utah.

Both he and Ross met with about 50 members of the public Nov. 2 at a meet-and-greet at the South Portland Community Center. They met with department heads and were vetted in a final interview by the council on Nov. 3. 

Collins will replace interim City Manager Don Gerrish, who has been with the city since July, following the resignation of former City Manager Jim Gailey. Eaton Peabody, the Bangor-based firm that employs Gerrish, assisted the council in its search for a new manager. 

Blake praised Gerrish and Eaton Peabody for their “tremendous wealth of experience,” and said they have “put a top-shelf process in place.”

Collins’ salary will be within a few thousand dollars of Gailey’s salary when he left, which was about $123,000 a year, plus a $600-a-month vehicle stipend.

Collins likely won’t start until early next year, Blake said, and Gerrish will remain as interim manager until then.

“I think we made a wise choice and am looking forward for the next city manager to join us,” the mayor said.

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA


South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.