City Manager Search

The City Council has selected 3 finalists.  A public "Meet and Greet" session with City Manager finalists was held on October 8th in City Council Chambers. Council will conduct an additional interview with the finalists in Council Chambers on October 9th, starting at 5:30 pm.  Please scroll down to read about the finalists:

Karen Sawyer Conard
Karen Sawyer Conard

Karen Sawyer Conard

Ms. Conard has 28 years of experience in the public sector and has built a unique network of connections and relationships.  She started her career working in the legislative and executive branches of state government, serving in various capacities starting with the Massachusetts State Senate, Office of Governor William Weld, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Massachusetts Office of Business Development and MassDevelopment, a quasi-public financing authority.

After two years as Chief Operating Officer for a private real estate firm, Karen worked for 11 years as Community Development and Planning Director for the medium-sized cities of Methuen and Peabody, Massachusetts, and currently is finishing her third year as Executive Director of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, one of thirteen Regional Planning Agencies in Massachusetts.

Leading this organization, Ms. Conard and her staff are committed to assisting the 5 cities and 10 towns in the Merrimack Valley region of northeastern Massachusetts adjacent to the New Hampshire board in the planning areas of transportation, the environment, land use, economic development, housing and GIS mapping.

Ms. Conard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and French from Duke University. She currently serves as President of the Board of Housing Support, Inc., a non-profit corporation with a mission to provide housing and related support services to low-income, homeless and/or handicapped individuals and families. In addition, she serves as a Director and Executive Committee member of The Savings Bank, Chairperson of the Board at First Financial Trust, member of the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth and Chairperson of the Massachusetts Gaming Policy Advisory Committee (appointed by Governor Charlie Baker).  She was a member and past President of the Peabody, MA Rotary Club.

Karl Kilduff
Karl Kilduff

Karl Kilduff

Mr. Kilduff has over 20 years of public-sector management experience leading diverse organizations at both the state and local level. He distinguished himself in professional local government management, spending most of his career in Connecticut - serving as Town Manager in North Branford and Town Administrator in Darien. He began his professional career in the City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania serving as Assistant City Manager and City Manager stabilizing the city’s finances and leading efforts to make the city a model under the Act 47 Distressed Cities program.

Most recently, Mr. Kilduff served as the Executive Director for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, leading the organization during a time of historic state investments in affordable housing and overseeing annual investments of approximately $1 billion, including federal tax credits and bond financed mortgages.

 Mr. Kilduff graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Political Science and International Relations and received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Connecticut. He served in governance roles on several inter-local insurance pools and was active in professional organizations, including election as President of the Connecticut Town and City Management Association and a member of the International City/County Management Association.

Christopher Parker
Christopher Parker

Christopher Parker

Mr. Parker has over 20 years of municipal experience having served in various capacities with the City of Dover, NH since 1997. He has served in the Community Services (AKA Public Works) and Planning Departments, having served as the Assistant City Manager since 2014, and as the Director of Planning since 2007.

Mr. Parker has focused his time in Dover largely on developing long term goals and objectives for the City and overseeing the land use and development functions within the community development arena. Among the projects that Chris has worked on for the City of Dover he is most proud of the McConnell Center a project where a 100,000 square foot former high school was rehabilitated into a human service hub for the Dover community, the development of the State of New Hampshire’s first Form Based Code for Dover’s downtown, the development of a proactive customer service based planning and development process in Dover which encourages public participation and education, and a complete revamping of the City’s Capital Improvement’s Program, including multimedia elements to enhance the ability of citizens to understand and participate in this vital link between Dover’s Master Plan and financial policies.

In addition to his department’s land use and community development responsibilities, Chris supports all municipal departments with strategic planning activities, oversees downtown development/redevelopment projects, and assists the City Manager with special projects and other community initiatives. Chris lives in Dover, and was named the professional planner of the year for both the State of New Hampshire and Northern New England in 2011.


The Candidate Profile used in the search illustrates the desired qualifications and qualities of the future City Manager.  

Questions regarding the recruitment may be directed to Joellen J. Cademartori, CEO, GovHR USA at 847-380-3238.  Email:

The City of Portsmouth is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Subcommittee Meeting Materials


The City Council City Manager Search Subcommittee is comprised of Mayor Jack Blalock, Assistant Mayor Cliff Lazenby, Councilor Nancy Pearson, and Councilor Chris Dwyer.   The City Council is working with GovHR USA to assist it in recruitment of the next City Manager.  Joellen Cademartori, CEO, is the City's primary contact throughout this process. 

10/9/19 City Council meets to select finalist.

10/8/19 Public "Meet and Greet" with the three finalists.

10/2/19 City Council selects finalists.

9/17/19 Non-Public Session Re: City Manager Search - RSA 91-A:3, II (e)

City Council Actions

6/10/19  Meeting Materials; Teleconference with Joellen Cademartori, CEO, GovHR USA:


Proposed Draft Recruitment Timeline

Revised Draft Recruitment Schedule

Sample Manager Survey

Recruitment Brochure Discussion Questions


6/3/19  City Council votes to contract with GovHR USA


5/29/19  Meeting Materials; Consultant Interviews/Recommendation:


GOVHR Proposal

5/24/19  Meeting Materials; Proposals Review/Recommendation:

AgendaDraft Minutes from 5/24/19

4/19/19 Meeting Materials:

AgendaDraft Minutes from 4/19/19

Draft RFP for Search Firm

REVISED Draft RFP for Search Firm (as of 4/22/2019)

4/12/19  Meeting Materials:

AgendaDraft Minutes from 4/12/19

Draft Schedule

ICMA Guide to Recruitment

ICMA Advice on Member's Role in Executive Recruitments

ICMA How to Successfully Recruit a City Manager  (also:  Hiring a City Manager or Administrator Toolkit from MN)

City Manager Profile - 1997

Subcommittee Mission Statement