Gorham council appoints Paraschak to lead town

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Ephrem Paraschak, left, Gorham's new town manager, will succeed the retiring David Cole on Sept. 1. They are pictured Tuesday before town councilors formally appointed Paraschak.

Ephrem Paraschak, left, Gorham’s new town manager, will succeed the retiring David Cole on Sept. 1. They are pictured Tuesday before town councilors formally appointed Paraschak.

GORHAM — The Town Council Tuesday unanimously appointed Ephrem Paraschak as town manager to replace longtime manager David Cole, who is retiring.

The appointment of Paraschak, 32, now Naples town manager, will become effective on Friday, Sept. 1. During Tuesday’s meeting Paraschak sat in the audience among town department heads.

“I look forward to starting the position,” Paraschak said. 

He plans to be accessible for meetings with townspeople and said he’ll have an open door policy in his office.

Paraschak was selected from 29 applicants in a national search and was one of two finalists. 

“We’re very excited to have him come into the fold,” said Town Council Chairman Michael Phinney.

Phinney said he hopes Paraschak stays as long as Cole, who has been town manager for nearly a quarter century. Cole became town manager in January 1994.

The Town Council set Paraschak’s starting salary at $110,000.

Paraschak, familiar with the town, previously worked for Cole as a compliance coordinator from 2007 to 2008. Paraschak said before Tuesday’s meeting that he served at Town Hall during a building boom. He then became town manager in Denmark for six years.

Paraschak was appointed town manager in Naples on July 1, 2014.

A Naples native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history at Syracuse University and a master’s degree in public policy and public finance and management from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine.

Phinney praised the work of Cole, who announced his retirement in March. Cole led the town through a major building and population growth era. According to town figures, the town’s population was 14,141 in the year 2000 but has increased to well over 17,000, and Gorham is one of the fastest growing communities in the state.

Succeeding Cole, Paraschak takes the reins of the 15th largest municipality in the state.

During Cole’s tenure, the town has built a new middle school, elementary school and police station and rehabbed the central fire station. It expanded the library, built a new public works facility and renovated the former Shaw School for a municipal center.

Cole was instrumental in the Bernard P. Rines Bypass, constructed to ease traffic congestion in Gorham Village. The bypass became a reality in 2008 after 60 years of effort.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com