Bangor City Council Chair Rick Fournier said the city has narrowed its search for a city manager down to two candidates. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Bangor is closer to hiring a new city manager more than six months after its last executive stepped down, according to the city council’s chair.

Cathy Conlow left the city manager post last August to become the executive director of the Maine Municipal Association after serving the city of Bangor for 11 years. Debbie Laurie, the city’s finance director, has served as interim city manager since Aug. 5.

The original goal was to hire a successor by October, but the position still isn’t filled. GovHR USA, the company handling the search for Conlow’s replacement, reposted the job listing online Nov. 3, which promises a salary range of $106,626 to $143,227, depending on the candidate’s qualifications.

GovHR USA did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Bangor expanded its search for eligible candidates nationwide in the fall, City Council Chair Rick Fournier said. The city has narrowed down the search to two candidates and hopes to wrap it up in the next two weeks.

“We’ll have an offer out shortly,” Fournier said. “Everyone knows we need a new city manager onboard but it has to be the right fit.”

He declined to give further details.

It has been a difficult time for hiring statewide. The public sector has seen a dearth of applicants, from cops to code officers, said David Barrett, the director of personnel services and labor relations for the Maine Municipal Association.

“It’s been a challenging couple years up and down the employment ladder,” he said, noting that applicant pools had dwindled over the last decade. “Some of it is straight up demographics. Maine is the oldest state, and lots of people are not looking for work.”

COVID-19 has played a role, but it wasn’t fair to lay hiring challenges “at its doorstep,” Barrett said.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.