In an about-face, the Board of Selectmen has named and appointed a town manager search committee, reversing the decision it made last month to rely on a hiring team made up of town officials, human resources staff, and volunteers.

 

In a joint meeting with the Duxbury personnel board on Nov. 27, selectmen voted unanimously to appoint five residents and the members of the personnel board to a search committee charged with finding qualified candidates to replace outgoing Town Manager Richard MacDonald. In October, MacDonald announced he will retire at the end of January.

When looking for a new town manager in the past, selectmen have named a search committee and hired an outside consultant. Selectmen said at their Nov. 5 meeting that instead of appointing a committee, they would rely on the expertise of an in-house “hiring team” consisting of themselves, the town manager, human resources director Jeannie Horne and the personnel board.

Selectmen Chairman Ted Flynn said the decision to appoint a search committee is because two current town employees have applied for the position. So the idea to have a hiring team review applicants will no longer work, he said.

“Because there are internal candidates, our human resources department will not participate in the screening in any way, but assist the search committee only with administrative support,” said Flynn. “The town manager will play no role in the screening for the same reason: internal candidates.”

Selectmen appointed the personnel board, which consists of Wayne Heward, Elizabeth Hartford, Karen Butcher, Anita Stiles and Robert Molla, and the following people to be on the search committee: school committee chairman John Heinstadt, former zoning board of appeals chair and current member Judi Barrett, attorney and town counsel search committee member Kathy Muncey, zoning bylaw study committee member Fred Clifford, and former personnel board member and former police chief search committee member Sandy Salmela.

Selectman Shawn Dahlen approved of the committee.

“I like the new approach,” he said. “The town manager is the most important decision the board of selectmen is going to make and it’s important to bring other points of view to the process.”

Personnel board chairman Wayne Heward was amenable to the idea as well.

“I don’t have a problem with an expanded committee,” Heward said. “I feel the (personnel) board was and is perfectly capable of making the selection but in some aspects this may be better.”

Sources have confirmed that the two town employees who applied for the town manager’s position are Finance Director John Madden and Director of Municipal Services Scott Lambiase.

Horne said that in addition to their applications, two other applications from people outside of town government have already been received. Nov. 19 was deadline for applications from internal candidates. Dec. 14 is the deadline for all other applications.

The position reports to the Board of Selectmen and is listed as the chief administrative, financial and procurement officer for Duxbury. The town is looking for someone with “proven leadership and team building skills, outstanding communications skills, computer skills, knowledge of best practices in local government, understanding of finance and labor laws, sound financial and budgeting abilities and a willingness to work collaboratively with town agencies and community leaders.”

A master’s degree in public administration, business administration or a related field is preferred. The job does require a minimum of eight years senior municipal administrative or supervisory experience. The town will also consider candidates with a combination of education, training and experience that provides the required knowledge and skills to perform the job.