The Cape Elizabeth Town Council will begin advertising for a new town manager next week to replace Matt Sturgis, who started his new job as Cumberland’s town manager this week.

Municipal consultant Don Gerrish of Eaton Peabody recommended to the council Monday that they advertise the job with a salary range of $145,000 to $175,000. He cited recent town manager hires in York and Kennebunk with $175,000 and $165,000 contracts, respectively. Sturgis was making $161,000 when he left.

“I think you need to be in that range to find somebody today,” Gerrish said. “The price to get good candidates has gone up significantly over the past five years.”

Resident Mary Ann Lynch told the council at Monday’s workshop that having the next town manager live in Cape Elizabeth is important.

“We need to have our senior managers living in this town and knowing this town and going to the IGA and not thinking the only people who live here are the ones who show up (at meetings),” she said. “I would encourage you to make residency a requirement within one year of hire.”

Gerrish said the South Portland City Council initially required residency in its latest manager search and did not come up with any candidates. When the City Council loosened its requirement to be “active in the community,” he said, applications started rolling in.

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Resident John Voltz said living in town shouldn’t be a requirement as it would shrink the pool of applicants. He also encouraged the council to hire someone proficient in modern technology and with a proven ability to leverage the input of experts.

Gerrish expects the town will likely receive 15 to 25 applicants and he will help narrow the search by conducting the first round of interviews. Once the top two or three candidates are selected, he said, it is important that the entire Town Council be present for in-person interviews.

“They want to see who their bosses are going to be,” Gerrish said.

It may take a second round of job ads to find the desired candidate, Gerrish said, but Cape Elizabeth should have little trouble finding qualified applicants.

“I think the community has a great reputation; you’ve had two managers in 39 years,” he said. “I’m expecting to get some good candidates for this position … it only takes that one candidate to make it all work and that’s what we’re looking for.”

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