LONDONDERRY — The search for a new leader continues.
There are 54 applicants in the latest search for a new town manager.
The process was sidetracked a bit earlier this year when the top applicant chose to take a job elsewhere.
Town Council Chairman John Farrell said the search process is moving forward again.
“But the council has not received the applications from Human Resources yet,” Farrell said this week. “We are hoping to receive them this week.”
In the first search, 66 people had applied for the job, which has lacked a permanent person since June. Officials originally hoped to fill the position by April 1.
Town Councilor Tom Dolan said the town was ready to make that candidate an offer when officials learned the applicant had accepted another job.
By that time, the other top candidates had been notified they had not made the cut.
“This caught us by surprise,” Dolan said. “We had to restart the process.”
Police Chief and acting Town Manager William Hart said the setback was a bit frustrating.
“We feel strongly it really has to be the right fit,” he said.
Hart was named acting town manager last June, after longtime manager David Caron resigned.
Officials are happy with Hart staying at the helm until a new manager is chosen.
“Our saving grace is that Chief Hart has done an excellent job,” Dolan said. “We don’t feel like we’ve missed a beat.”
Dolan said having Hart as manager also gives the town time to do the best job in finding a new leader.
“We can be very deliberate in our selection,” he said. “We don’t want to make a quick decision. That is a good thing for the town.”
Human resources director Donna Pratt said the manager selection work begins once officials have the new applications in hand.