Maio 2024

At last night’s meeting, Town Councilors reviewed Town Manager Stephen P. Maio’s performance as giving him an overall rating of “exceeds expectations.” (Photo screen capture WCAT)


WAKEFIELD – The Town Council is, on the whole, quite pleased with Stephen P. Maio’s performance as Town Administrator over the last year, giving him an overall rating of “exceeds expectations.” 

At last night’s meeting, Chairman Jonathan Chines began by outlining the evaluation process that was used. He explained that Maio first wrote up a self-evaluation. Then, after members of the Town Council met individually with Maio, each wrote his or her own review of Maio’s job performance. Those individual reviews were then aggregated into a final, overall performance appraisal. 

Maio’s performance was evaluated on the various elements of his duties as Town Administrator, from fiscal management and human resources to long-term strategic planning and the management of town resources. 

Maio came in for his highest praise under the fiscal management section, where he got the highest possible rating of “greatly exceeds expectations.” He was credited with preserving the town’s AAA bond rating and maintaining Free Cash, the Stabilization Fund, the Capital Budget and Debt Service Fund within established fiscal policies. His accurate and complete financial recordkeeping in accordance with applicable accounting standards, state law and town bylaws was also noted. 

He was also praised for his ability to clearly explain proposed budgets and the town’s finances in a concise and understandable manner at Town Meetings. 

Under Human Resources Management, Maio was given a rating of “meets expectations.” He was lauded for his “excellent work on police and fire labor agreements, balancing immediate and future needs and cost considerations” as well as for his “positive, respectful contributions to teachers’ union negotiations.” 

The board’s evaluation listed a couple of areas for improvement, including planning for his future successor. The evaluation also called for an added focus on employee relations. 

The Town Council felt that Maio exceeded expectations in the area of “Communications Management,” highlighting the Town Administrator’s newsletter and the town’s website. They suggested that he could “better monitor community pages on social media to stay on top of rumors and allegations that are not true and develop a more proactive communication strategy.” 

Maio also exceeded expectations in “Operations Management.” The evaluation notes that “Police, Fire, and Emergency response times remain exceptional notwithstanding a significant increase in workload. Public Works handles resident service requests in a timely and professional manner and all town buildings are maintained in excellent condition, with both routine maintenance and regular capital investments.” 

He was also given high marks for ethical standards. It was noted that all town employees, elected and appointed officials complete state ethics training and attestations as required by state law. 

Maio was also rated on his performance with respect to a number of annual goals, meeting or exceeding expectations in each area. Overall, the board believes that Maio has exceeded expectations in the performance of his duties as Town Administrator. 

“The Town Administrator has had a successful year,” the performance appraisal concluded, “meeting many of the ambitious goals related to housing, sustainability, inclusion and efficient operations and services set by the Town Council.”  

The document noted that Maio “takes a balanced approach to issues, allowing for everyone to feel that their perspective is being heard and respected. He is collaborative and can bring together various stakeholders.”  

The evaluation offered a number of other concluding observations including the following descriptions of Maio’s performance:  

  • Maintains excellent preparation for Town Meetings and Town Council meetings, enthusiastically accepting advice from Town Councilors and thoroughly researching all issues brought to his attention.  
  • Continues to provide excellent stewardship of Wakefield’s finances, maintaining Wakefield’s AAA bond rating, taking a strategic approach to budget planning and forecasting and assuring appropriate financial controls across Town government.  
  • Generally effective management of Town staff, with further opportunities to improve performance evaluation, development planning and succession planning for employees in Town Hall as well as other human resources/employee relations functions.  
  • Effective planning and management of long-term capital projects, including Wakefield’s strategic road repair program and the Wakefield Memorial High School building project  
  • Maintains strong institutional knowledge and vast experience, both of which serve the Town well. As a result, Town operations are well managed across most departments, with effective communication and responsive service to residents.  
  • Hiring of a new strategic planning position creates opportunities to finish Wakefield’s Master Plan and Housing Production Plan, while freeing up Community and Economic Development Director to focus more on business development and downtown revitalization  
  • Continued opportunities for civic event planning, and aesthetic improvements outside of Lake Quannapowitt and the Common, including maintenance of upkeep and routine repair efforts.  
  • Mr. Maio acts as a compassionate and dedicated champion for Wakefield who truly cares about building a stronger community that is fiscally responsible and value-driven. 

Town Councilor Michael McLane stressed that the review is a distillation of seven Town Councilors’ comments. He said many of the comments that he submitted addressed areas of performance where improvement is needed.  

“We may not all seven of us agree,” he said. 

He noted that while Maio’s performance appraisal paints a mostly rosy picture, he cautioned against a public perception that “everybody thinks everything is great.” 

“Not everybody does,” McLane said. “I don’t think everything is great.”