NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen on Monday unanimously named Paul First of Durham as town manager. He was named interim manager in February.

The board came out of an executive session to announce its decision and sign First’s contract, which stipulates a starting annual salary of $73,000. He will be subject to performance evaluations after three months and after six months.

First will also be the tax collector, town clerk, road commissioner, welfare director and Freedom of Access Act officer.

He has served as the town’s full-time planner for the past five years.

“We have been grappling with this decision,” Chairman Steve Libby said Monday night. “We were looking for a person who could work with the board and the public and deal with budget and finances, a person who could work and listen to staff and had good supervisory skills and communication skills. Paul exceeds all these requirements.”

Selectman Josh McHenry said he enjoys working with First as a planner and finds him capable with a common vision and strategic level of planning to any task. And, projects get done and he knows how to get things moving, he said.


Selectman Nat Berry IV commended First for his budget work.

“You made it easy,” Selectman Linda Chase said.

Selectman Mark Stevens also lauded First. “You picked up everything and you have the ability to communicate with everybody,” he said.

Last November the town, with the help of the Maine Municipal Association, began a search for a new town manager when Field announced he would retire.

During the past months, the town spent $7,500 and the board spent 24 hours in executive sessions reviewing 64 applications. In the midst of negotiations with a finalist, the person declined the position.

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