DURHAM — The Select Board has hired Gardiner Public Works Director Jerry Douglass of Brunswick as the new town manager following a monthslong search, which included input from residents, officials and town employees.

Jerry Douglass

Douglass has two bachelor’s degrees in public management and parks and recreation from the University of Maine. He has spent the last 20 years collaborating with municipalities in both the public and private sectors, including Durham.

“It’s always been one of those goals I’ve had, to actually go into a town and lead the town and bring with that my experiences working with other towns and leaders,” Douglass said.

He sees the most important duty of the town manager as providing accurate facts and figures to the Select Board so they can make “sound decisions” for the town, additionally speaking to the importance of communication and transparency as a public official.

Select Board Chairman Kevin Nadeau said Douglass’ leadership experience and knowledge about public works — one of Durham’s largest expenses — made him a solid fit for the position.

Douglass’ application was one of a few chosen to receive an interview by a temporary committee consisting of three residents, three town employees and three Select Board members. He was later interviewed a second time by the full Select Board and hired.


“It was a really great process,” Nadeau said. “Everyone who was involved, I think, felt really good about it because it had such good cross-representation.”

Durham’s previous and only town manager, Kathy Tombarelli, resigned from the position in March after 10 months on the job. In a statement, Tombarelli said she felt she was not the right fit for the position, and additional, unforeseen family responsibilities arose.

The town anticipated Douglass will begin working on Aug. 22. Interim Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz will stay on for a few weeks to help with the transition, Nadeau said.


The town will hold a special town meeting at the Eureka Center on Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. seeking authorization to appropriate American Rescue Plan Act funds to several projects.

Durham received $410,000 following the passage of a federal COVID-19 recovery spending law. The town is seeking to use a quarter of their allocation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements at the town office ($34,500) and fire station ($23,230); technology upgrades for the town office, fire station and public works ($45,000); and digitizing the towns tax maps to make them accessible online ($16,000).

Currently, one of two heating units at the town office is broken and the fire station office does not have air conditioning. Doing this work at the same time will be more cost effective for the town, Nadeau said.

The Budget Committee reviewed the proposal this week and unanimously supported the expenditure, Nadeau said.

If these projects are approved, the town will have roughly $302,000 in ARPA funds remaining. Nadeau said the town plans to hold public hearings over the next few months so residents can voice their opinions on what the funding should be put toward.

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