KENNEBUNK – Five finalists in the running for Kennebunk town manager mingled with residents on Wednesday, Nov. 16, – an event designed for residents to get a chance to see those in the running.

They are the cream of the application crop, chosen from a field of several semifinalists, whittled down from 50 initial applications.

Three of the finalists have Maine connections, one is a Rhode Island resident and the fifth hails from Indiana.

They chatted with residents in the town hall auditorium. Select board members were in attendance – and both they and the candidates spent time together in interviews for most of that day and again on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Peter Joseph Tammy Wells Photo

A decision, offer and acceptance could come at any time.

“We have fantastic candidates,” board chair Shiloh Schulte told residents. He invited them to submit comment cards following the session.


Candidate Peter Joseph is marking 10 years as town manager in Freeport, and earlier worked in a couple of New Hampshire communities that have town meeting forms of government, as does Kennebunk. “I love where I’m at,” he said, adding he was attracted to Kennebunk because it is a well-run community. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Hampshire.

Marguerite “Maggie” Fleming, an Alabama native, is an administrative analyst – conducting research and developing policy for the town of Falmouth. She came to Maine eight years ago with the Jesuit Volunteer

Maggie Fleming Tammy Wells Photo

Corps and decided to stay. She worked for the University of Maine School of Law and interned for a couple of municipalities, and holds a master’s degree in public policy, planning and management from the Muskie School.

Joshua Avila Tammy Wells Photo

Joshua Avila is deputy chief operating officer for the city of Providence, Rhode Island. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Roger Williams University.

“I want to help Kennebunk grow,” he said told residents. He said the empathy and aesthetic of what he described as a quintessential New England town drew him in.

David Johnston Tammy Wells Photo

Indiana native David Johnston said he has served in five cities in his 25-year career in government service, “so I understand the nuances of how local government is done.” He said he wants to help the community thrive, spoke about climate change in a coastal community with a tourism component, and praised Kennebunk’s new Comprehensive Plan for its vision.


Heather Balser said she is a big believer in downtowns and that a sense of community is critical to a municipality. A Maine native, she was city manager in

Heather Balser Tammy Wells Photo

Louisville, Colorado, for four of her 24 years with the municipality. More recently, she has been working on housing and homelessness matters in another Colorado city. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado.

The process to hire a new town manager began earlier this year – former town manager Mike Pardue announced in late January he would retire from Kennebunk in mid-November. He later accepted an offer to become town manager in Wells and began his job a week ago. Public Services Director Brian Laverriere is serving as interim town manager.

Kennebunk has been working with Texas-based Strategic Government Resources, a national recruiting firm hired in June.

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

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