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Selectmen discuss job description, salary range for next town coordinator/manager

Westborough – Selectmen continued to refine the criteria for the town manager position, focusing at their July 15 meeting on experience, education, areas of expertise, personal skills and salary range.

Current Town Coordinator Henry Danis will retire after 14 years of serving the town on June 30, 2009, and the Board of Selectmen said at its July 15 meeting that it hopes to have his successor hired in late April or early May of 2009 so he or she can officiall y begi n wor k on July 1, 2009.

Town Counsel Greg Franks said he expects the change in the title of the position – from town coordinator to town manager – to be approved by the state legislature very soon. Westborough residents approved the change at the annual Town Meeting, held May 17.

In the draft job description for town manager, created by Assistant Town Coordinator Maryanne Bilodeau, the town is seeking someone with seven to 10 years of experience as town manager or a similar position, from a community comparable in size and structure.

Prospective applicants must have an educational background that includes a bachelor's degree, although a master's degree is preferred.

In addition, candidates must have experience – preferably hands-on – in several areas, including municipal finance, collective bargaining and labor relations, licensing and permit processing, town meeting and election processes, zoning and land use, public safety, open meeting laws, as well as a working knowledge of state and federal laws, especially those that could or will aff ect Westborough.

Included among the list of desired personal skills and qualities are: management; leadership; interpersonal; organization/time management; negotiation; planning; strategic thinking; decision making/judgment; delegation; creativity; analytical; credibility; open-minded; energetic; and last, but certainly not least, a sense of humor.

In discussing this agenda item, the board, Danis and Bilodeau spent the majority of the time debating the salary range.

Bilodeau explained that while Danis earned $112,000 last year, other central Massachusetts towns in close proximity to Westborough pay their town administrators, coordinators or managers anywhere from $100,000 to just under $150,000.

Selectman Leigh Emery suggested a salary range be listed in the job description. Danis, however, said he thought the board and the search committee that is selected to hire Westborough's next top officia l might be better served saying the salary would be "commensurate" with experience. Danis also said he thought the job description could encourage applicants to list their salary requests.

Selectmen Rod Jané agreed with Danis.

"I think to give ourselves some flexibility we should go the 'commensurate' route," Jané said. "Putting in a range or a minimum may deter someone from applying, and I don't think we want to do that."

Emery disagreed.

"I think people want to know – ballpark at least," Emery said.

George Thompson, Board of Selectmen chair, suggested a third phrase.

"How about if we say the position will off er competitive compensation commensurate with experience?" Thompson asked. "Maybe that's a wording everyone can live with."

The board decided not to vote on any of the suggested changes to the job description or salary language, choosing to wait until at least Wednesday July 30, when it will hold its next meeting, the bulk of which will be used to address the town manager search, including the formation of the search committee.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=2992

Posted by on Jul 25 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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