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A joint meeting between the government committee and the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday night to review the future of the town's management.

Lanesborough Eying First Full-time Town Administrator

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Committee members said the full-time position will ease the burden for the Board of Selectmen while giving them the oversight of the administrator.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town will be seeking its first full-time town administrator to begin in September.

The town's former Town Administrator Paul Boudreau resigned in January and the Board of Selectmen has used the opportunity to rethink town government.

A committee was formed to analyze the town's governmental structure. After multiple meetings during which discussion ranged from the number of selectmen to a charter review to the role of administrator, the committee supports strengthening the job of administrator and bumping it from 70 percent to full time.

"We want some who is 24/7," interim Town Administrator Joseph Kellogg said during a joint meeting between the committee and the Board of Selectmen. "You need some who lives, breathes and eats this and the only way to do that is to have them here full-time."

Selectmen Robert Barton, who headed the committee, said while there were arguments for and against changing the number of selectmen and changing the charter, they decided to make simple changes first and continue to tweak the operations each year. The first tweak would be to shift power from the Selectmen to a hired administrator.

"We realized that the job of the Selectmen exploded," Barton said. "We would create a new job description for the town administrator that was stronger than before."

The town is considering a salary between $60,000 and $65,000, which officials say is on par with other Berkshire towns. The Board of Selectmen is expected to hold a special town meeting later this year and will need to ask for some additional funds to expand the position to full time.

"That is sort of in the range of what Paul was making," Kellogg said. "At our town meeting in the summer, we're going to have to ask for some additional funds."

Committee member Timothy Sorrell said this change will create accountability that may have been absent with the current job descriptions.

"There were no evaluations, there was nobody checking up on people. The nice thing about this is that it is mandated," Sorrell said.

The committee and the Selectmen reviewed sample job descriptions on Monday but made no changes.

"This person on a day-to-day basis has the ability to make decisions but is ultimately responsible to the Selectmen. So if he or she isn't doing their job or oversteps their bounds, the Selectmen's job is to yank them back a bit," Kellogg said. "But it makes it very clear to employees and everyone that this is the person in charge. This is the person to go to to get things done."

The search for the administrator is expected to begin this summer with the position starting in the fall.

Tags: charter review,   town administrator,   

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