ELLSWORTH — In a month’s time, David Cole will get to drop the word “interim” from his job title and officially be city manager.
The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to appoint Cole, a Brewer resident who has served as interim city manager since earlier this year, as the city’s next manager.
His first official day as city manager will be Monday, Aug. 17. He will continue to serve as interim manager until that time.
“I’m hoping for a seamless transition,” Cole deadpanned at Monday night’s council meeting.
The employment agreement approved by the council gives Cole a three-year contract with a starting annual salary of $96,000. If he receives a favorable review and evaluation after six months on the job, his salary will increase to $98,000 a year.
Cole’s predecessor, Michelle Beal, earned $95,880 during the fiscal year from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, according to the city’s most recent annual report. Beal resigned as city manager earlier this year to take a job as chief operating officer and firm administrator with the Bangor law firm Rudman Winchell.
The council’s vote to hire Cole came after a 25-minute, closed-door session with him at Monday’s special council meeting.
Councilor Gary Fortier said his charge to Cole was to “keep the wheels of economic development rolling” in Ellsworth. He said Cole’s background — including decades of work for Eastern Maine Development Corp. — make him well-suited for the job.
“It’s your strength and your background and it’s one of the reasons I’m supportive of hiring you,” Fortier said to Cole.
Cole, for his part, noted he hadn’t intended to apply for the permanent job when he was hired as interim manager earlier this year. He said the city grew on him, however, and that having a good relationship with the City Council and other officials led him to apply for the full-time job.
Cole said he thinks Ellsworth has a good foundation for further economic growth, and that his goal will be to help the city build on that foundation.
“I like the cards I’m being handed,” Cole said.
Council Chairman Bob Crosthwaite thanked the other six councilors for their commitment to the months-long search process, which had to be extended after several of the candidates councilors were initially interested in interviewing accepted jobs elsewhere.
Crosthwaite said the fact there were other good candidates to consider made it “a tight race,” but expressed his support for Cole.
“I believe we’ve made a good decision,” he said.