By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Select Board received the names of the three finalists for Town Administrator at its meeting on 1/24/22. TA Screening Committee chairperson Mark Sylvia presented the names to the board.
Mr. Sylvia thanked all the SC committee members, noting that they had to start all over again after two of the three last finalists withdrew.
He said each member had “full engagement” in the process.
“Everybody was participating,” said Mr. Sylvia.
He said they interviewed each candidate, deliberated, and made their decision.
“We are very confident in the three individuals we are presenting for your consideration,” said Mr. Sylvia.
Mary Alcardi, the consultant with the Collins Group, said it was a “fabulous group” on the screening committee, who had the dedication to get it right. “We are just thrilled to be at this point.”
Mr. Sylvia presented the names in alphabetical order, emphasizing there is no preference.
Jennifer Callahan, who was finalist in 2020, has been the Town Manager of Oxford, Mass., since 2018. She was also the town of Millville’s first town administrator. She has served as a state representative, is a registered nurse, and has taught at the college level. She has a Doctorate and a Masters in Public Health.
Recent local reporting shows that Ms. Callahan has been offered the town manager job in Bourne, and is a finalist for the same position in Plymouth.
Angeline “Angie” Lopes Ellison, formerly the Town Manager in Uxbridge and Blandford, left her position in Uxbridge before the end of her contract after criticism by the Select Board. Her tenure there was plagued by employee departures in the finance department, according to an article in the Telegram & Gazette.
She also faced criticism in her part time TA position in Blandford, where a citizen petition called to reduce her pay to $1. She is currently working as administrative officer for the city of North Adams and does consulting work.
She holds a Master’s Certificate, Local Government Leadership and Management from Suffolk University, and a Master’s Degree, American Studies from UMassBoston, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government from UMassDartmouth. She also served in the Army National Guard and serve as Associate Dean of Students Affairs for the University of Massachusetts.
Thomas M. Guerino has also moved around a bit in the last few years. Mr. Guerino is currently the Housing Authority Director for the town of Greenfield, a position he took on October of 2020; and he is a consultant, doing work for the town of Wareham since 2019.
He was the TA in Bourne from 2005 to 2019, when his contract was not renewed, but he stayed on until 9/30/20 while they searched for his replacement, according to news reports.
He had a bit of a dustup with the Bourne Select Board in 2018, resulting in a six-day suspension for approving a firefighter’s transfer to another town after he had resigned, which made him ineligible for the transfer, according to a Cape Cod Times article in July of 2018.
He has been a finalist in Swansea and Southbridge, according to news reports.
The Fairhaven Select Board discussed dates to interview the candidates with Ms. Alcardi, but an agreement could be reached that night. She will send sample questions and the board will submit questions. They will meet before the interviews to finalize which questions will be asked.
Each candidate will be asked the same questions and will be unable to watch as the other candidates are being interviewed. As of press time, the SB had not scheduled a meeting for the interviews.
Select Board member Keith Silvia is allowed to participate in the new process because his wife Anne, who is the Council on Aging Director, will no longer be employed by the town by the time the new TA is hired.
In other business, the board made appointments to two boards.
The Zoning Board of Appeals had one associate membership available. Three letters were available in the online materials and one was received too late.
Ann Richard, Nicholas Sylvia, Denyce Wicht, and Patrick Carr all submitted letters for the ZBA seat. Mr. Carr’s letter was not in the packet.
Select Board Chairperson Bob Espindola read all the letters.
Mr. Carr, who has a pending administrative appeal in in front of the ZBA (see legal ad on page 20), wrote that he has a family owned business in Fairhaven, A-1 Crane, and worked on fishing boats.
He also said he had a “vested interest in the success of our community.”
Select Board member Keith Silvia, referred to a letter from Town Counsel about Mr. Carr’s ongoing issues with the ZBA.
“I was told he had a clean slate and this is claiming he isn’t,” said Mr. Silvia.
Mr. Espindola also noted that “attorney Crotty” wrote about some “ongoing things with A-1 Crane.”
In the end, the board voted unanimously to appoint Nicholas Sylvia to the ZBA, who is an attorney.
“I have said publicly that I would like to see an attorney on that board,” said Mr. Espindola.
The board also appointed Robert Grindrod to a vacant seat on the Library Board of Trustees.
During the Committee Liaison reports, Mr. Espindola said that during the Economic and Development meeting the issue of charges to marinas for slips caused concern. Apparently, the assessor’s office has not been charging for slips, for “a number of years.”
He said it looks like a “significant increase for marina owners,” so there was both concern and criticism. He said marina owners said they were notified, and the increase happened all at once in the same year.
Mr. Espindola said the assessor’s office said they sent out a mailing asking for more information on the number of slips and only about 20 responded. So they estimated. It is too late to change for this year, because the information has been sent to the state.
Marina owners have the right to file for an abatement.
In another matter, the board approved the draft of the Annual Report of the Select Board and Town Administrator for calendar year 2021, with one change: to change the names on the bottom to the current board members.
The report lists the number of grants the town has received and the departments that received them, a total of $3,165,790.48.
The board also discussed a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers concerning routine maintenance to the Hurricane Barrier that is required every 8–10 years. According to the letter the HB will not be available for “routine flood control operations, but will be available to provide protection in the event of a large coastal storm event.”
The work was scheduled to start on 1/24 and continue for 2-3 months. Board members noted that this weekend we are due to get a nor’easter with high winds and snow during extra high tides.
The letter says they will “monitor” the weather and “ensure the barrier is operational in the event of a large coastal storm event.”
In other business, the board
• Accepted a $20,000 check from an anonymous donor for improvements to Grimshaw Park.
• Voted to continue the mask mandate in town buildings in accordance with the Health Agent’s recommendations, and also to send a letter to the Board of Health urging stronger action to protect the public against the spread of COVID.
Click here to download the entire 1/27/22 issue: 01-27-22 UnionWharf
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