No candidates were found for the City Manager search at York ME


YORK, Maine — A search to replace former City Manager Steve Burns turned up no winning candidates.

Selection committee chairman Todd Frederick said the board had interviewed several candidates but found no one they thought was the right candidate to be York’s permanent manager. The council began looking for a city manager after Burns announced his retirement this spring. They hired consultant Don Gerrish to lead their search and hoped to have a candidate by September.

“There was no one who had reached the level that we thought would be a tremendous next leader for the city of York,” Frederick said. “It’s unfortunate, but we want the right person to fit into the community.”

Frederick said the city will post another ad for the position in December. The position was first advertised in June.

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Kathryn Lagasse will continue as acting City Manager of York

Burns’ last day was August 1, and the selection committee had voted in July to have Deputy City Manager Kathryn Lagasse serve as interim City Manager until the position was filled. Frederick said Monday that Lagasse would continue to serve as acting city manager with the help of planning director Dylan Smith.

“We’re going to pull out and re-announce the job, probably the first part of December, with an elaborate new schedule,” Frederick said. “The government continues, Kathryn is at the helm with Dylan Smith her assistant, and we continue.”

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Coach Kinley Gregg offered what she called a “minority report”, saying she liked a candidate and disagreed with the rest of the board. The candidate was environmentally conscious, which Gregg said spoke to “the soul of the city.”

“I was a bit put off by the result, but of course I respect the majority,” Gregg said. “But there was a lively discussion.”

York Deputy City Manager Kathryn Lagasse will serve a few months longer than expected as Acting City Manager, as the selection committee did not find a candidate to fill the position in its recent search.

The council is seeking to replace a city manager who served seven years in the role and a total of 23 years working for the city. Don Gerrish said that by the time the search began he expected to have 20 to 25 candidates for the board to consider, but he also said the pool of experienced candidates for the CEO position was smaller than it has not been in recent years.

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The market is also competitive, as Gerrish’s firm was simultaneously conducting city manager searches for four different cities this year, including Wells.

York looking for the ‘right person’ to become city manager

Lagasse said she did not apply for the position nor did she plan to do so in the next round. Lagasse, who handles her assistant principal duties in addition to her acting role, said she has young children and isn’t at the point in her life where she could take on the job. She first worked for the City of York from 2007 to 2011 as Administrative Assistant to the City Manager and returned to lead Human Resources in 2017. She became Deputy City Manager in 2019.

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Lagasse said communities can be particular about who they want to be the city manager, who oversees city services and operations. She thinks it was wise for the Selectboard to pass on candidates they lacked confidence in and said she was prepared to hold on to the job until the right person applied.

“It all comes down to that person, so you have to have the right person in that job,” Lagasse said. “I’m glad the board is taking its time to find the right person to fit into this role.”

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