WINDHAM — After 14 months on the job, Interim Town Manager Don Gerrish will step down next week to be replaced by another interim, Barry Tibbetts, who served as the town manager of Kennebunk for 19 years.

Don really went above and beyond for the town of Windham,” Town Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield said this week. “He stuck it out for much longer than originally planned. The work he did while he was here was great.”

Don Gerrish served as Windham’s interim town manager for over a year. File photo

Gerrish was appointed in October 2018 after then-Town Manager Tony Plante left with a $175,000 severance package amid turmoil on the council about his job performance. The town originally expected to appoint a permanent town manager in January 2019, but three searches for a manager have been unsuccessful thus far.

After a not ideal manager change, he came in and helped the staff get organized. He empowered the staff and worked with them as a team,” Maxfield said. 

Any time I take an interim position, and I’ve done nine of them, my goal is to keep things going forward,” Gerrish said. “I also try to help with any issues that I can help deal with so when a new manager comes in, they don’t have to deal with them.”

He is proud to have restructured the town’s budget to make it more informative.

In addition, he has been “trying to get everyone working together and moving ahead” and is proud that “we’ve been able to move forward and get things done.”

When Tibbetts takes over on Thursday, Dec. 19, Gerrish said, “his job will be like mine, to keep things moving.” The town will advertise a fourth time for a permanent town manager in January.

Tibbetts said he will serve as interim through the end of March and will “take care of whatever the needs are in moving the community forward,” including the budget. 

“I’ve been reading about the community and trying to understand the different dynamics and the challenges,” he said. “I’m really pleased to be able to work with council and residents and staff.”

Gerrish will continue to assist with the search process through his work as a municipal consultant with Maine-based law firm Eaton Peabody.

Although he is retired, he said he will probably take another interim position in a different town in the future, “if something comes to me.”

This has been a lot longer than I normally do. For a number of reasons, it happened, and it’s fine. But if I didn’t enjoy doing it, I wouldn’t do it,” he said. 

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