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Adams Town Adminstrator Search Panel Seeking Input

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
05:04PM / Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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The search committee is developing questions for the candidates and seeking input the role of an administrator.

ADAMS, Mass. — The Town Administrator Search Committee members has been meeting separately with department heads and prominent workers in the town to find out what they would like to see in a town administrator.

Committee members reported on some of their findings at Tuesday night's meeting.

Stephen Melito said he spoke with Superintendent of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Kristen Gordon.

"One of the things she mentioned was, she would like the successful candidate to help promote the schools and promote an environment where there is a lot of school choice," Melito said.

He said she also would like to see the creation of a problem-solving committee with administration and community members from Cheshire and Adams.

Gordon also would like a town administrator who would be more present at school events.

"This is a big thing when you are a mayor … but even though this is a non-elected position, they should be more visible and recognize the importance of the school and education in that way," Melito said.

He also added that Gordon wanted to see more town integration with the school as a whole and a strategic plan to improve communication.

Committee member Richard Tarsa spoke with Fire Chief Paul Goyette and reported that he would like to see more communication between the administration and the Fire Department and Fire District.

"They still feel as though there is a lack of communication on several levels regarding projects that directly reflect the Fire District," Tarsa said. "Basically, if it has anything to do with water, they should be speaking to the Fire District."

Tarsa said communication has been greatly improved under current Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, but there is always room for improvement.

"One of his biggest issues is bridging the gap between the town and the Fire District," he said. "The communication is great, and we have an open-door policy, but the open-door policy should be extended to the district."

Chairman Jeffrey Grandchamp said he thinks the feedback will help in the process.

"I think our questions are going to hit a lot of these topics, but this feedback will allow us to evaluate these responses and see if they are in line with what these various people want," Grandchamp said.

The committee also discussed written questions to give to applicants.

Committee member Erica Girgenti suggested asking a question focusing on the many new department heads and administration in Adams.

"This town administrator will be coming in with a relatively new chunk of staff, and I was curious how they thought that would be good or bad," Girgenti said. "Because certainly things have been done the same way for a long time and now there is an opportunity to mold those employees in how they want these departments run."

She said it is important to ask the applicants what kind of challenges they foresee with this.

"New staff may come in, and they don't have the past experience the old department heads had," she said. "They won’t be able to share that with a new town administrator."

Grandchamp stressed having an order to the questions.

"The idea as I recall is to come up with a number of questions that each of us could ask," he said. "There might be one or two that are general stock questions and one that is unique to the individual, but we will have them all agreed to as a script."

Committee member James Brosnan stressed the importance of condensing and focusing the questions to make the process more streamlined for both the applicant and the committee.

He also said it is important to ask initial questions that allow the applicant to relax a bit. He said it may be good to first ask about major projects the candidate has done in the past.

"I think it is going to relax them and relax us," he said. "It certainly gives them a chance to answer that question, and we can see how significant the answer is."

Tarsa said his interview process for police chief was enjoyable, and the committee should keep the interview more conversational.

"They weren't just going around the table and asking questions, and there was a lot of bouncing back and forth," he said. "It keeps you thinking on your feet, and it was a really good challenge, but a comfortable atmosphere."


Tags: interview,   search committee,   town administrator,   

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