Naples: Five land interviews for town manager job

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Could operating a town without a town manager be compared to running a ship without a captain?

The ship wouldn’t sink or run aground because the crew would have no choice but to do the necessary jobs to keep it ‘shipshape’ and running like a well-oiled machine.

Likewise, Naples town employees and the board of selectmen have stepped into the roles and taken on the tasks typically done by the town manager.

It has been two months since Naples’ former town manager Ephrem Paraschak departed for the town manager’s job in Gorham at the beginning of September.

It could take another two months — or less time — before the job vacancy is filled.

In fact, a possible time frame for the new hire being officially announced is the end of 2017, according to Chairman Grattelo.

“The candidates have been narrowed down to five people,” Grattelo said.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen chose “five candidates to set up interviews with,” Grattelo said, adding this was done in executive session.

“The week after Thanksgiving is when the interview process will begin,” he said.

“The timeline is for the Naples town manager position to be filled by the end of the year,” Grattelo said. “That doesn’t mean we are going to meet the timeline.”

“We are up against quite a bit right now” with the holidays that occur during the last two months of the year, he said.

“That is when the budget is submitted, right after the holidays,” he said, adding, “The current hiring timeline doesn’t jeopardize the budget process.”

After Paraschak’s resignation was announced, the selectmen engaged the services of David Barrett, with the Maine Municipal Association (MMA), to handle the job applications and help narrow down the pool of candidates.

In the coming days, Barrett will be contacting the five people to schedule interviews with the selectmen.

“The interview process will take place with the selectmen and the firm that we hired. The selectmen decided, at this point in time, at least during the beginning of this process,” the job of conducting interviews for a new town manager “will stay with the selectmen,” Grattelo said.

“The selectboard decided, by hiring MMA, it is MMA and the board that will make this decision,” he said.

“It could change. What public involvement can take place is yet to be determined,” he said.

“I think the board is comfortable with what the job description is and what we are looking for. The board is comfortable with this,” he said.

“We have said on more than one occasion, the individual is also the road commissioner, the treasurer, the maintenance person, etc. In other towns, other people do those jobs. The Town of Naples has a limited staff, so the town manager is very hands-on,” he said.

“The board has a grasp on what that is and how involved that is. Now, with Ephrem [Paraschak] being here for three years, the board has a better understanding of what is involved in that job, what requirements are needed in that job,” Grattelo said.

There has been talk of a job candidate meet-and-greet with the public. That is something the board has discussed but not committed to.

“When we narrow it down to the final two — maybe,” Grattelo said. “It hasn’t been decided yet, but some type of public participation. It’s yet to be determined how that is going to unfold.”

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