KENNEBUNK – More than two dozen people have applied for the post of Kennebunk town manager as of late August, and as the selection process enters a new phase, the select board is offering residents another opportunity to be involved.

Earlier in the process, in mid-July,  there was a  virtual community forum. Now, the board is asking for input on the characteristics, skills, knowledge, and abilities desired in Kennebunk’s next town manager and inviting residents to email comments and questions they would like asked of the finalists to [email protected] by Sept. 19.

Board members, in a workshop held Aug. 30, reviewed next steps with Mark McDaniel, senior vice president of Texas-based Strategic Government Resources, the national recruiting firm hired in June.

McDaniel, by phone from Texas, said 25 applications was a “strong showing,” and that he expects more by the Sept. 19 deadline for applications.

“We’re still early in the process,” said McDaniel. He said some applicants are from New England, some have strong ties to Kennebunk, and some are from out of state.

Selection of semifinalists is expected to take place about Sept. 28.

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McDaniel said he will  will be sort applications and resumes them into groups, weeding out those who do not meet qualifications; whose who meet most qualifications and have some outstanding expertise; those who meet or exceed;  and internal candidates. At that stage, the review of  applicants is based on paperwork. “You’ll get a sense of whether or not they’ll be a good candidate,” he said.

“At what point before that date will you be sharing the resumes, the information about the candidates,” asked select board member Leslie Trentalange.

“All of the material is the property of Strategic Government Resources for confidentiality,” said McDaniel. He said that information will be shared with the board at the semi-finalist stage and that he will be available to answer questions. “You’ll have enough information to make those choices,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said he will present up to 12 applicants as semifinalists, who will complete a questionnaire and conduct a recorded online interview, which the board for review. As that plays out, the company conducts an initial media search to determine if there are any red flags, which is presented to the board.

Finalists are expected to be chosen about Oct. 21.

McDaniel said finalist candidates are asked for a first-year plan, giving the select board an indication of how the managers approach their work, and if they have done their homework. There are background checks, and a deep dive into a second media search.

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He said interviews of the finalists are expected to begin in Kennebunk about Nov. 15. He said there could be interviews with the board, a meet-and-greet with the public, an assessment board with citizens the board chooses, with the leadership team, and more – the board will decide how they wish to proceed. From there, the field is narrowed to a single finalist or two.

Kennebunk is offering a salary range of $112,622 to $168,933 for the position, depending on qualifications and experience, according to the job posting.

The board was expected to confer with labor attorney Alyssa Tibbetts in a closed-door session Sept. 6 to discuss confidentiality of personnel matters as it applies to resumes and applications, and other aspects of Maine’s labor laws involving citizen input into the process.

Town Manager Mike Pardue announced at the latter part of January that he planned to retire from his Kennebunk job in mid- November. He recently accepted the town manager post in Wells and will start Nov. 14.

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