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The board voted to accept the full bill and maintenance responsibility for the Valley Street Field irrigation system.
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Michael O'Brien addresses the board about supporting reopening of the hospital.

Adams Selectmen Mull Town Administrator Replacement

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The board discussed options on when and how to replace outgoing Town Administrator Jonathan Butler.

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen began discussions on the hiring of a new town administrator and what strategies to use to create an easier transition Wednesday night.

With current Town Administrator Jonathan Butler’s recent announcement that he will not renew his contract with Adams, the selectmen began to brainstorm on how to best advertise and transition into a new one.

The board felt it was best to start the process as soon as possible and create a search committee to help find possible candidates.

"We have to be ready with a plan where we just snap our fingers when it’s six months before the contract runs out," Selectman Jeffery Snoonian said.

Butler said it may not be advantageous to advertise too soon and would be better to act closer to when his contract runs out next year,

"It would be difficult to advertise for a position that would be available in June 1, 2015," Butler said. "I think if you wait until that point to initiate the formal advertising process the town will be able to save some money and get some better informed candidates."

Butler said should a position he wants shows up in between, he may leave the post of town administrator early. If this is the case, he promised to give the board a few months' notice.

Snoonian asked what options the town had if it found someone they would like to bring on while Butler still held the position. He asked if there would be an overlap period during which the town had two town administrators.

Butler said the town could not afford to carry two administrators and that’s why it would be beneficial to wait and advertise closer to the end of his contract.

"These processes take between four and seven months, and you may very well get a candidate who is ecstatic to take the position, but they need to give two or three months' notice to their other professional position because they may be an administrator already elsewhere," Butler said.

He said it would be a good idea to bring on a current capable town employee who can shadow him and work as an interim town administrator in addition to his or her other position. That way if he has to leave the post early, Adams will not be left without a town administrator.

"If you have to go three of four months without a town administrator that could be troublesome," he said. "It would be good to have someone who knows how the town operates, that has a bit more intimate knowledge on how the departments operate, and to be ready on a moment’s notice to be in that role."

The board agreed to form a solidified plan in their next workshop.

The board also voted to forgive the debt of the installation of an irrigation system on Valley Street Field.

It was agreed upon last year that the local youth leagues who use the Valley Street Field would pay for half of the $15,000 installation cost of a sprinkler system on the field. It was agreed upon that the town would pay for the other half. However because of time restraints, the town paid the whole price with the agreement the leagues would match the cost after.

Because of confusion and a break down in communication, only one team paid its portion of the installation. However, Butler and the board felt good about having the town pay for the whole installation because the field is beneficial to the community and the leagues use all the money they make to better the league.

"It's good capital cost in terms of what we spend in capital every year, and the impact of it," Butler said. "There are hundreds of families that utilize that field on a yearly basis, and it’s a huge resource for the community."

Chairman Arthur Harrington said that by having the town pay the whole price, it can have full maintenance responsibilities of the field.

"Now the town has the responsibility to protect that investment by making sure that sprinkler system is maintained properly, which I think is more important than the extra money," he said. "The taxpayers' money is now protected in this investment."

The board also decided to follow suit with other communities and agreed to send a letter to Boston in support of the reopening of the former North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH).

Michael O’Brien, a retired employee of NARH and former leader of its 1199SEIU chapter, addressed the selectmen and thanked them for their support.

"We just want to keep the pressure on the governor and other state officials and not let this go into the dark, so to speak," O'Brien said. "We are asking different … communities to just to keep pressure on the Legislature and the government to really look at getting us back on our feet as a full service hospital."

Butler informed the selectmen that an analyses of the Commercial Street area will be conducted in attempt to make it a new target area within Adams that will qualify for Community Development Block Grants and slums and blight designation. Summer, Hoosac and Park streets have all benefited from this designation in the past. This will also allow Adams to apply for larger programs.

"We spent the past 10 years going through lot of face lift operations on Park Street, Summer Street and Hoosac Street," Butler said. "We hope we can spend the next ten years focusing our efforts on Commercial Street."

The board also approved an additional warrant for the next town meeting that would provide $5,000 worth of upgrades to Bowe Field that the Adams Agricultural Fair uses during August. The repairs will make the grounds safer for the fair.

Tags: parks & rec,   sports fields,   town administrator,   

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