Published in the December 6, 2017 edition


LYNNFIELD — The town received 38 applicants for the town administrator job, Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett said on Monday.

“There were 38 applicants for this position, which is pretty impressive,” said Barrett. “I know there was some concern because we expedited the process, but (Community Paradigm Associates Managing Partner) Bernie Lynch said he was absolutely impressed with the amount of resumes that came to the town of Lynnfield. I don’t think we are surprised knowing the community that we have here.”

Barrett said Lynch narrowed down the applicant pool to four candidates.

“We had four strong candidates that the Screening Committee narrowed it down to,” said Barrett. “It was a tough discussion, but of those four, we are going to have an outstanding replacement for our outstanding Town Administrator Jim Boudreau.”

Barrett said the Screening Committee will be interviewing the four candidates in executive session on Saturday. He informed the Villager in a text message, “Hopefully the Screening Committee sends three candidates to the Board of Selectmen on Monday.”

The selectmen have tentatively scheduled a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 20 to interview the finalists for the TA job.

Boudreau’s last day on the job is Friday, Dec. 15. The selectmen appointed Assistant to the Administration Bob Curtin has interim town administrator.

Public forum held

Over a dozen residents attended the town administrator search forum held at the Al Merritt Center on Nov. 29.

Barrett said the Board of Selectmen decided to have a public forum to give residents the opportunity to provide “input on the type of qualities they want to see in our next town administrator.”

“I think it’s helpful for me as the chairman of the Board of Selectmen to hear the wants and needs of the residents of the town of Lynnfield so that we can hold the next person accountable,” said Barrett.

In addition to Barrett, Screening Committee members Arthur Bourque and David Basile, and newly appointed Screening Committee alternate member Gerard Noumi attended the forum to listen to residents’ feedback. Lynch, who is assisting the selectmen and Screening Committee in the search process, moderated the forum.

“This is something I have done in other communities,” said Lynch. “It’s important for the selectmen to reach out to the community to get ideas and input as we go through this process.”

As part of the search process, Lynch has been reaching out to different individuals to “try and bolster the field.”

“A number of people are very excited about the possibility of working in the town of Lynnfield,” said Lynch. “Lynnfield is seen as a premier community in the commonwealth.”

Seven residents spoke during the forum.

Patrice Lane resident Pat Campbell said she would like the next town administrator to be ethical, and doesn’t want “nepotism” involved in the process. She also wants the next TA to have “experience with fine results in an administrative position of this type.” She also wants the next TA to have financial experience and to “eliminate wasteful spending.”

Walnut Street resident David Moynihan and Veterans’ Services Agent Bruce Siegel both suggested the selectmen appoint Assistant to the Administration Bob Curtin as the next town administrator.

Barrett said Curtin “is a valued member of Town Hall.”

“That is why we unanimously selected him as interim town administrator at this point,” added Barrett. “He is outstanding.”

Magnolia Drive resident Sheila Craffey prefers hiring someone with a CPA and accounting background as opposed to municipal experience.

“We really need someone with proven business experience,” said Craffey. “I think $160,000 plus is an excellent salary. We pay the best and we expect the best. They have to be able to manage a $53 million dollar budget and be able to save money.”

Barrett said the selectmen are open to appointing to someone with strong financial skills regardless of whether they come from a municipal or different background.

Lynch concurred with Barrett’s point of view, but noted the town does have a strong accountant currently working at Town Hall.

“We are looking across the board,” said Lynch. “We are looking for the best possible candidates.”

Craffey would also like the next TA to be “more creative with cost savings” and to “keep up with safety issues in town.” She would like the next TA to support senior citizens and special education students as well.

“I think the town is characterized by the way they treat their seniors and special needs children,” said Craffey.

Former Selectman Dave Miller would like the next TA to understand the impact of state and federal laws, particularly how the proposed Republican tax overhaul bill in Congress will impact the town.

Lee Road resident Richard Ripley said the town administrator job “is an opportunity for us as a community.”

“A lot of folks are thinking this is the same small town we grew up in,” said Ripley. “What I am hoping for out of a new town administrator is someone who can acknowledge that we aren’t that small town anymore. There are many things that still need focus and attention. I am hoping for a well-balanced approach to this. It seems like we focus on one thing at a time, draw it to completion and shift our focus to the next item. I’m hoping the next person we bring in has a multi-faceted approach to this and bring balance. It shouldn’t be an all or nothing approach.”

Debston Lane resident Wally McKenzie would like the next TA to “help solve immediate issues but also have the focus on five to 10 years out so that people who live here today can continue to afford to live in Lynnfield.”

Ripley inquired if the selectmen could place “anchors” on the next TA in order to keep the person around for more than three years.

Lynch said, “Anchors work both ways.”

“It’s the board’s intention to enter into a contract with the individual,” added Lynch. “You do have in your Charter that the appointment is for a two-year term. I am only here to do the recruitment and search function, but in my expert opinion, that might be something you want to take a look at. For certain candidates, it has been a matter of concern.”

Lynch said most town administrators’ work in a municipality for four or five years, and stay for a minimum of two years. He noted former Town Administrators Bill Gustus and H. Joseph Maney both held the job for a number of years.

Barrett agreed.

“One of the attributes I am looking for in a town administrator is someone who is going to be here for more than three years,” said Barrett.