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The two Cheshire selectmen are split on who to hire as town administrator.

Cheshire Selectmen Split on Town Administrator Candidates

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town's two selectmen are split on the decision for town administrator.
 
They went over some of their thoughts Tuesday regarding selecting one of the three candidates for  the post — but before their regularly scheduled meeting — and agreed to hold off their decision.
 
"I would like to defer further conversation even if we have to continue the discussion next week," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said. "Let's regroup and think about each other's thoughts ... a decision is not going to be made tonight."
 
Francesconi said she was in favor of hiring attorney and former Cheshire selectmen Edmund St. John IV while Selectman Robert Ciskowski was in favor of hiring Thomas Spiro, the former program coordinator at Elms College's Greenfield campus and town administrative aide in Conway.
 
Current Town Administrator Mark Webber announced his retirement earlier this year and the town plans to bring on another part-time administrator but at a higher salary and for more hours a week.
 
The Selectmen received nine applications that they narrowed down to three finalists. Interviews were held Nov 1.
 
Francesconi and Ciskowski agreed that the third candidate, Marion Carr, operations director at Head Start of the Berkshires, was not their top candidate and conveyed concern about her long commute from Otis.
 
Francesconi asked for input from Webber and Selectmen's Assistant Carole Hilderbrand but Ciskowski though that the decision should purely be a Board of Selectmen's issue.
 
"I am not ready to give over my powers as a selectman on this even though I respect both of your opinions," he said.
 
Webber did not advise reopening the position.
 
"I have to be a consideration in how long it takes, and we are doing pretty good but to reopen it and do this again will put this out quite a bit," he said.  
 
Clarksburg had run into a similar problem four years ago when that Select Board was also down to two members because one had quit to apply for the town administrator's post. It took the departure of one of the board members and an election to come up with a majority vote.
 
The Cheshire officials don't have a firm date for a decision but said they did not yet want to reopen the interviews.
 
Ciskowski said he still wants to have a timely decision.
 
"We would like to expedite this for all parties' sake and especially for Mark," he said.
 
Webber said he plans to stay on through the transition whoever they pick.
 
"I am more than willing and feel it necessary to do this with any of the two candidates and stay on for however long it takes for the transition," he said. "I do this gladly."
 
Francesconi had few words to say and only added that she had to "digest" Ciskowski's thoughts
 
Ciskowski, however, stayed firm.
 
"I think Carol has made her thoughts clear, but I guess but I got this far in life by the way I was brought up and the experiences that I have," he said. "I guess I am going to have a tough time changing my idea. I am where I want to be on this one."

Tags: town administrator,   

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