Monday, December 23, 2013

Reed Contract Still In Limbo

An article posted tonight on the Worcester Telegram website indicates that the proposed contract between Southbridge and Robert Reed for the latter to serve as Acting Town Manager is still hung up over the issue of a town provided vehicle.

In the article titled “Car clause derails Southbridge town manager contract” Brian Lee reports, “After hitting a roadblock over use of a town-issued SUV, officials continue to negotiate with Robert T. Reed about serving as interim manager for six months, Council Chairman David S. Langevin said Friday.” 

[In another article, Brian Lee reports on the turmoil in the leadership of Southbridge Schools. See “Southbridge facing shake-up among principals”.]

Council Chairman David Langevin, who was absent from the meeting that considered the contract, expressed his disappointment over the way matters evolved.  Departing Town Manager Christopher Clark described himself as being left “flat-footed” by the Council’s action.

The original arrangement had anticipated Reed serving as Acting Town Manager from January 2 to June 30 for a salary of $1,000 per week with use of a town owned Dodge Nitro, previously allocated to Mr. Clark. The Council balked at providing the vehicle and voted instead to provide an allowance of $150/week for transportation expenses.

According to the article, “Mr. Clark, who makes in excess of $130,000 a year, said Mr. Reed's compensation is equivalent to $75,000 to $85,000 a year for working full-time hours. ‘It should have been a no-brainer,’ Mr. Clark said, adding John F. Healey made $2,900 a week to work 37.5 hours a week when he was interim manager in 2008.”

Questioned about allegations that Mr. Reed’s part-time employment indicated that the town could survive without a full-time manager, Chairman Langevin responded, “This is a $50 million business that we're running and we need to do it at a professional level and not cut corners." 

Current Town Manager Clark is leaving to take the Town Administrator job in Harwich. His last day on the job in Southbridge is this Friday. Finance Director Karen Harnois is mandated by the Town Charter to serve as interim Town Manager until an Acting Manager is hired.

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