NEW BEDFORD - At Monday night's School Committee meeting, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said gears are beginning to grind forward as far as finding a new superintendent for the district is concerned. Mitchell said the Committee will be meeting before Christmas in order to discuss the search process in depth.

Mitchell says New Bedford is only slightly behind the 8-ball when compared to other Massachusetts communities and their efforts to find superintendents.

"They're a little bit ahead of us, including places as close as Acushnet, but not that far ahead," said Mitchell. "So, I think we could be in a position where we're within the a window of opportunity for candidates and that's where we want to be."

A sub-committee was established in order to determine if the Committee will hire an outside firm to seek out qualified candidates, and if so, which firm. The sub-committee is comprised of Mayor Mitchell, Joaquim Livramento, and Christopher Cotter, who is skeptical of bringing in an outside and potentially costly entity.

"Personally, I believe it's money wasted and I'm fiscally responsible when it comes to that. I have no idea what the cost is, in fact, going to run the district," said Cotter. "That's one of the issues that I need to find out: how much these firms are going to cost the district in the long-run."

Cotter tells WBSM News he believes the School Committee members have enough experience in superintendent searches to find potential candidates on their own.

In November, Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin announced that she would be stepping down from her position effective June 30.