Thursday, June 4, 2015

Regarding A New Town Manager

Ken O’Brien

As the chairman of the last Town Manager Search Committee that resulted in the selection of Christopher Clark, I must compliment the work done by the newest such committee.

They have provided the town with three prospects, any one of whom would appear to be an appropriate choice.

In reviewing the candidates I have not found anything in their backgrounds that would constitute a bar to their assuming the position of our next chief executive officer. 

The interviews to be conducted tonight will provide the determining factor in deciding which one possesses the vision and skill set best compatible with the present needs of our town as well as the ability to plot a fruitful path in the future.

There are three factors that I would hope that Council members would bear in mind in carrying out this process.

The first has to do with compensation. As best as I could determine the candidates currently receive between $95,000 and $116,000 per year. I would hope that in the course of final negotiations councilors strive to set a bar that does not just take the current maximum of $142,000 per year as a final number. Such a consideration would not only have a bearing on future pay levels for this position but would also impact future salary negotiations for a new Police Chief and DPW head. Remember that we are entering a period where we have to address the structural shortcomings in our community’s income stream. 

The second has to do with developing an annual performance review for the Town Manager. We have been lacking this for far too long. A special subcommittee of the Council should be appointed shortly after the next election and charged with the development of an annual evaluation tool. It should then be employed to evaluate the Town Manager on an annual basis.

The third factor relates to the prior municipal management experience of two of the candidates. I have reservations as to whether someone who has gained the bulk of their experience as an elected mayor is an appropriate choice for a town manager. I hope that the Council will address this issue.


  1. So you're the one who brought us the "Dark Clark!"

    1. Not exactly. The committee provided the Council with, I believe, five candidates. By the time they got to a second round of interviews Clark was the only one left.


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