Chairman Jeffrey Levanos, who championed McKinney at that time, hadn't changed his mind in the interim.
"I don't think Carl would do anything to hurt this town, because he's done everything he can to help this town," said Levanos during the nearly 45-minute debate that followed the interviews.
The three selectmen — Levanos and newcomers William Schrade Jr. and Linda Reardon — agreed that both candidates scored highly in experience and financial acumen.
McKinney, a real estate agent, has a degree in business administration and spent 18 years in the budget office of the former Northern Berkshire Healthcare. Fierro has a degree in accounting and background in both private and public finance, including seven years as auditor, as former treasurer of Stamford, Vt., and now the Clarksburg town accountant.
Considering the town's recent struggles with its finances and budgeting, it was no surprise the board rated such skills highly. But they also indicated they were looking for more than just financial acumen.
They needed someone who could lead.
The town's been without a leader since February, and personnel and operational issues have been festering in Town Hall since even before that.
"There's been some bickering," Levanos said. "We're looking for someone to put an end to it."
Fierro said he was looking to advance his career beyond his current auditor's position and was confident he could get things straightened out in a few months. While not having a significant supervisory experience, he said he had already built a good rapport with town employees and "could be stern" when necessary.
McKinney said he would continue implementing the changes recommended by the state for the town's finances and believed in empowering employees. He said he had already had to deal with Town Hall employees, and "impressed upon them very clearly that they need to work together."
Schrade advocated for Fierro, saying he had spoken with a number of people at North Adams City Hall who gave him high marks for his work ethic and problem solving abilities.
"This is an opportunity for a fresh start and someone new coming in," he said, pointing out the newly configured Board of Selectmen that replaced a long-term board.
Reardon, however, was somewhat disappointed that Fierro hadn't offered more consideration of the town's challenges or a vision of what he saw for a future Clarksburg.
Schrade, on the other hand, wasn't impressed that McKinney's example of a vision was having a Clarksburg history book republished to encourage voters and impress schoolchildren of the town's importance.
But both agreed that McKinney had extensive knowledge of the town's ins and outs, its challenges and its history.
"He's got the pulse of the town, he knows it," said Reardon.
Levanos defended McKinney, saying, "he's been 13 years of servicing this town on three different committees. If there was an issue on Carl's trust or loyalty, it would have been brought up in 13 years."
The board voted, with Schrade voting naye, to offer McKinney the post at a salary of $39,500 with a year's contract.
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