The new Town Administrator Search Committee convened for the first time on Tuesday night.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Town Administrator Search Committee held its first meeting Tuesday night and discussed the residency requirement of the new town administrator.
The seven-member committee was formed after current Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said he would not seek reappointment.
Last week, the Board of Selectmen decided to post the job position exactly how it read in the town charter. The charter states the town administrator must be a town resident within 12 months of appointment unless the Selectmen make an allowance.
However, the committee was unsure what this actually meant. The statement may give the board the right to only change the allotted time for the new town administrator to become a resident; it may not have the right to change the residency requirement.
Selectmen Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington, who also sits on the search committee, said the town charter may have to be deciphered and reinterpreted by town counsel.
"We don't know what the thinking was back when that particular part of the charter was written, but I think the consensus of the board is that it would have to be pretty good case for someone to get an exemption from that requirement," Harrington said.
The board decided to advertise the post as the town charter is written and ask for the opinion of town counsel if it becomes an issue.
Committee members James Brosnan and Michael Ouellette said they think it would be beneficial to have the correct interpretation beforehand. Harrington said it was not an option and they will have to look at each applicant case by case.
Harrington said it is possible, if there is a lack of candidates, to change the advertisement to specifically include non-residency if town counsel deems it legal, but it will set back the process months because they would have to re-advertise.
Committee member Stephen Melito said he thought it was best to just go through with what the charter says at this point in the process.
"In terms of what we want or whether we do not agree with the decision that was made by the Select Board, it is what it is and why spend time attracting people we are going to find out this is not the job they want," Melito said.
The committee members also deemed it appropriate to have Butler sit in on some of their meetings to provide input to better get a sense of what his job entails so they can better prepare a job description.
The committee decided to reconvene next Tuesday so members have time to read the material given to them by the Selectmen. Next week, they plan to discuss the duties and responsibilities of the new town administrator.
The committee elected member Jeffrey Grandchamp as chairman and Carol Corrigan as vice chairman.