Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
With the announced departure of Town Administrator Brian Noble at the end of August, the Acushnet Selectboard at their Tuesday, 8/6, meeting discussed how to proceed with an interim TA and whether or not to create a screening committee.
Kevin Paicos, who served as interim TA three years ago, attended the meeting and offered his assistance and resources to the Selectboard.
Mr. Paicos has 42 years’ experience as a Town Administrator and had a discussion with the Selectboard on creating screening committee. He said he would be available as s resource if they chose that route.
Mr. Paicos stated he would make himself available to the town to assist in recruiting a new Town Administrator at the cost of $4,000-$5,000 or as the Selectboard saw fit. He said that currently there are five Town Administrator jobs across the state that he is aware of and there are candidates, making the process highly competitive.
Mr. Paicos explained the process of having a screening committee made up of members of the community and have them narrow down the applicants. He said when the final candidates were chosen to be interviewed by the Selectboard, the process would become public, but until then, with a screening committee, the process would not be open to the public.
Chairperson Roger Cabral stated there had been a few discussions with an interim Town Administrator being chosen from a couple of current Town Employees. He said he believed Julie Hebert, the town’s Director of Finance, would be an excellent choice for the interim TA. Mr. Cabral also noted that Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher would also be an excellent choice.
Selectboard member David Desroches stated that he would like to think about it for another week and discuss with the two possible in-house personnel regarding the position.
Selectboard member Kevin Gaspar stated he did not feel that the discussion to contract the interim Town Administrator should be a discussion for open session, but felt that it should be in executive session.
Mr. Noble advised the board that the decision of choosing an interim Town Administrator has to be done in open session; the salary discussion can be in executive session.
The Selectboard decided to hold an open meeting on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. to finalize their decision on an Interim TA, and then would move to an immediate executive session to negotiate a contract with the chosen individual.
The Board also agreed to come up with three community leaders to be asked to be on a screening committee to choose the finalist for the next Town Administrator.
Mr. Noble’s last day is 8/29.
In other business, the Selectboard agreed on the ten surrounding communities to use to gather data for their comparison communities discussion regarding the wage and classification study. The study is reviewing all town positions to classify them and bring salaries up (or down as the case may be), to comparable rates in comparable communities. The board has been squabbling about what constitutes a comparable community.
The ten communities that were agreed to were: Carver, Dighton, Halifax, Freetown, Hanson, Blackstone, Douglas, Fairhaven, Lakeville and Whitman.
Mr. Noble said he will begin to gather the data.
In other business, Heather Sylvia, the Director of the Council on Aging was present to ask for an exception to the most recently adopted Nepotism Policy for a van driver for the Council on Aging that was the husband of the receptionist. Ms. Sylvia stated that there were not a lot of people who applied for the position as it only works approximately five hours a week.
She said the person to receive the position is already a volunteer and familiar with the members who attend the council on aging. The Selectboard moved to exempt the hiree from the Nepotism Policy.
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