Clarksburg Names New Town Administrator
The Board of Selectmen interviewed candidates for town administrator on Wednesday morning, selecting Thomas Webb for the post.
The Selectmen on Wednesday morning voted to offer the post to the Cheshire town administrator after interviewing him and fellow finalist attorney Barbara Kellogg of Lenox on Wednesday morning.
Webb's acceptance of the post helps fills a two-month leadership vacuum that started when Town Administrator Michael Canales left for a position in North Adams.
"I was very impressed with the two candidates and the quality of their answers, their experience, both of them, and I do commend them for their public service and their interest in Clarksburg," said Chairman Carl McKinney after the interviews. "It's not an easy decision, clearly."
Webb, however, apparently fit the bill best for what officials were searching for — someone willing to champion the rural town's needs at all levels. During the interviews, both McKinney and Selectwoman Lily Kuzia stressed the need for an administrator who would be able write grants and advocate for the town when it came to projects including the school, roads and senior housing.
The Williamstown resident has been working for Cheshire since 2008 while also managing Berkshire Home Works, his property management and inspection company. He also had an impressive resume working for 19 years with Berkshire Housing.
Kuzia said she remembered working with the Webb in getting funding for the Senior Center. He also was involved in the initial work on the senior housing proposal in Clarksburg until Elder Services of Berkshire County became the lead agency.
Webb said he was interested in increasing his hours and exploring more opportunities.
"Just from what you have advertised here I can probably do more things here that I'd like to be doing than I can do in Cheshire right now," he said.
Kellogg said she had a broad background with "a little bit of everything." She holds a master's of public administration in addition to her law degree and said she had experience in the public sector as a practicing attorney and serving on local boards.
"I think the combination of those is the ability to approach something new, which is what I see this as, as a new experience," she said. "I have the ability not only to know who to ask questions of but have someone to answer the questions," she joked, referring to her husband, Joseph Kellogg, currently interim town administrator in Lanesborough.
Kuzia and McKinney thought Kellogg would bring a different perspective and skill set, particularly her legal experience, but they were more struck by Webb's questions to them.
Webb turned the tables somewhat in quizzing the two board members on the town's current fiscal conditions, its infrastructure, its operations and its future goals.
"He was very knowledgeable about the issues facing the town and it's quite clear he did a lot of research about us," said McKinney.
School Committee member Jeffrey Levanos, who is running unopposed for a three-year seat on the Board of Selectmen, said it was a good choice.
The Selectmen said they would work with Webb on when he could transition into the post. The board put off a decision on the town accountant until after next week's election.
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