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North Suburban News

New Town Manager 'A Very Big Win' for Stoneham

Dec 19, 2018 07:42AM ● By Katie Lovett

STONEHAM – The Board of Selectmen has voted to hire a finance director for the city of Watertown as the next town administrator.

In a vote Wednesday night, the board agreed to offer the position to Dennis Sheehan, of Melrose, the current director of administration and finance for the Department of Public Works in Watertown, following a months-long search to replace Tom Younger who stepped down at the end of the summer. Sheehan was one of three finalists.

Shelly MacNeill, the chairperson of the Board of Selectmen said that Sheehan “edged [himself] above the rest” by “digging into details” and asking thoughtful questions during his site visit to town where he met with numerous department heads. She pointed to his expansive background in DPW matters and his work on major infrastructure projects in Watertown, which will be crucial as Stoneham moves into the future.

MacNeill also stressed Sheehan’s willingness to communicate with the public and town officials as a major factor in his hire.

During interviews, he told the board, that while they may not always get the answer that they like from him, they will always get a call back.

“It shows a level of commitment to constituents,” she added.

Selectmen George Seibold praised Sheehan’s “calm demeanor,” calling him “well-spoken,” well-prepared and direct.

“You can tell he’s very thorough,” Seibold said. “I can honestly see him doing the work, not just sitting back and delegating. I can tell he will make sure things get done.”

Watertown Town Manager Michael Driscoll called Sheehan “one of the top 10 employees in the town of Watertown that I have the pleasure of working with.”

“The appointment of Dennis Sheehan as town administrator is a very big win for the residents of Stoneham and a very big loss for the residents of Watertown,” he said during a phone call.

“I congratulate Stoneham’s Select Board on their outstanding appointment.”

Calling Sheehan “very, very talented,” Driscoll pointed to his position overseeing numerous multi-million dollar budgets and his playing a role in the oversight of 52 DPW employees as examples of his strong leadership.

In an email, Sheehan said he was “extremely humbled” by the vote.

“[I] am grateful for the time and resources that the Stoneham community committed to the evaluation process. I look forward to working with the entire Select Board, town committees, department heads, staff and residents to provide the highest level of service while continuously focusing on sound financial management and maintaining an eye on the opportunities that lay ahead,” he wrote.

“Yesterday was an important day and I am optimistic about the future of Stoneham,” Sheehan added. 

The town will complete its background check on Sheehan and then enter into contract negotiations in hopes of finalizing a start date early next year.

Sheehan has been at his current position for four years. In this role, he supervises the financial operations of the department’s 10 general fund divisions, capital project funds and the water and sewer enterprise funds. He also oversees the personnel in the department. In this capacity, Sheehan also served on the project management team for large-scale infrastructure improvement projects, such as Mount Auburn Street and work in Watertown Square.

Prior to his position in Watertown, Sheehan was the assistant township manager in Wallingford, Penn. for four years. In this role, he also supervised the financial operations of the township and performed human resource functions.

He was also a recreation coordinator for the city of Santee in California where he completed work for the Community Services department.

Sheehan earned his master of public administration from the University of Southern California in 2008, and a bachelor of accountancy from the University of San Diego in 2005, with an emphasis in finance and real estate.



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