Stoneham Town Manager Search in Full Swing
Oct 10, 2018 07:13AM
● By Katie Lovett
STONEHAM – The deadline for candidates to apply to be Stoneham’s next town administrator is this Friday, and the chairman of the Board of Selectmen is hopeful a strong pool of applicants will emerge.
Town Administrator Tom Younger announced in August that he was stepping down from his post after two years on the job, and a search for a replacement has been underway.
Younger’s official last day was set to be Nov. 16, but interim administrator, Debbie Pettengill is now tending to the daily duties of keeping the office running “for a very short period” until a new executive is hired, selectmen chairman Shelly MacNeill said this week. Pettengill is the executive assistant to the town administrator.
Younger is no longer coming into the office, MacNeill confirmed.
“I’m not going to comment on personnel issues,” she said when asked about Younger’s exit. Younger did not return a phone call seeking comment as well.
The search committee conducted two public input sessions and distributed a survey to residents and town employees asking for feedback as to what traits and qualities they wanted in the town’s next leader.
Resumes are due to Town Hall this week, and MacNeill said the search committee will convene shortly after that time to determine if they are satisfied with the pool or if they will open the search again and extend that deadline.
MacNeill said a town administrator search can draw about 20-25 resumes, particularly if a town uses a search firm to help with the process. Stoneham is not using a firm, so MacNeill said that number may be less, but that isn’t cause for concern.
“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to get good candidates,” she said.
As she looks towards the future, MacNeill said she hopes to see a candidate emerge with municipal experience, but even more so someone who understands the importance of strong communication and customer service, a and a commitment to following through on projects and duties.
MacNeill said she wants the next town administrator to see Stoneham’s potential and to produce results, and to maintain a good relationship with employees, the public, businesses and local and state agencies.
“We’re full of possibilities; we have a lot of opportunities,” she said, pointing to the town’s open space, the new Greenway, and the strong ranking of the school district.
“The downtown is really attracting some great new businesses,” she added.
The next town leader must be ready to come in and follow through on projects and issues that are currently underway, she added.
“I’d like them to look at the town more globally and see how we can connect with things,” MacNeill said. “I’d like to look at ways to be creative and tie the town together…to look at the town cohesively.”
The search committee includes MacNeill, selectman George Seibold, the superintendent of schools, the chief of police, resident Jennifer MacAllister, the town accountant, as well as Human Resources Director Donna Gaffey, who does not have a vote.
The town administrator position is advertised at an annual salary of between $160,000 to $190,000, pertinent to experience.