NEWBURYPORT — While rumors circulated around the city yesterday that Mayor John Moak had been offered and accepted the job as town manager in Winthrop already, that simply isn't true, the mayor said.

Moak said he will have a final interview with Winthrop's Town Council tomorrow. The board won't make a decision on which of the three finalists to hire until the end of May, due to vacation schedules, the mayor said.

For now, Moak said, his focus remains on Newburyport. The mayor appeared before the City Council last night to give an overview of his budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1, which spends $63,000 less than the current budget. Moak's $46.7 million proposal, which needs to be approved by the council, calls for cuts to departments and the potential elimination of one full-time position — a police officer.

Moak said he has spoken to seven of the 11 councilors directly and has exchanged e-mails with other councilors about his applying for the Winthrop job. Moak said he's been hearing "very gracious" reaction since news of his seeking the job in Winthrop became public.

Moak confirmed last week that he did apply for the Winthrop job, after a newspaper in Lynn named him as a finalist. He said the challenges of the job and the pay — about twice the $65,000 he earns as Newburyport mayor — were incentives to apply.

If Moak gets the job, the 11-member City Council will appoint a replacement from within its own ranks. The replacement would serve out the remainder of the term, which expires in early January.

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