DERRY — The town may have a new administrator soon.
The Town Council narrowed a field of 76 applicants down to two and invited them to visit Derry.
Richard Brown, currently the town manager of Freetown, Mass., and Stephen Eldridge of Lisbon, Maine, came to Derry June 19 to field questions from residents during a public forum.
Before that, the two men met with department heads and other town employees.
About 20 people attended the open forum and asked the two how they would handle the budget, the downtown and economic development.
Earlier in the day, the two men toured the town.
The town has been without a permanent administrator since John Anderson left the post some 11 months ago — after he was charged with indecent exposure and lewdness.
“We had a lot of diverse candidates,” Town Council Chairman Mark Osborne said at the forum. “And I promised the town this would be as open a process as it could be.”
Brown’s contract in Freetown ends this month. He said he was attracted to Derry for its good financial standing and strong community spirit. He said he would bring more than 35 years of municipal management experience to town.
Eldridge most recently served as town manager in Lisbon, but his contract wasn’t renewed earlier this year.
Both men said they thought Derry would be a good fit for them.
“This is all I ever wanted to do,” Brown said. “I’m not here to build monuments, not here to stroke my ego, I’m here to provide service in a nutshell.”
“I think this community offers some great challenges,” he said. “It would be a nice place to be. I think I’m up for that.”
Residents’ questions included how the finalists would handle unions, the budget, the tax cap, the downtown and the Town Council.