Williamstown Town Manager Finalists Named

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Williamstown could select a new town manager by mid-June.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Concord-based consultant and the town administrator of Litchfield, N.H., are the finalists for the town manager position.
On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen discussed the schedule for deciding between the two finalists, who will interview for the post on Friday, June 12.
On Thursday morning, newly installed Chairwoman Jane Patton said the finalists are Jason Hoch and Angus Jennings.
Jennings gained a measure of fame statewide last year as the running mate for third-party gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk. Currently, Jennings owns and operates A.G. Jennings, a planning, zoning and real estate firm in Concord.
Jennings' previous experience in town government includes stops as town planner for Marshfield (population 25,000) and director of land use management for Westford (22,000).
Hoch occupies the corner office at Town Hall in Litchfield (8,300), which is located in southern New Hampshire, between Manchester and Nashua.
In 2010, Hoch was named Litchfield's first town administrator. He previously was town manager in Plaistow, N.H., (7,600) and Littleton, N.H. (5,900).
The pair will be invited to a public meet-and-greet at a yet to be determined location on Thursday evening, June 11, in Williamstown, population 7,800. The next day, the Selectmen will conduct one-on-one interviews with each candidate, starting at 9 a.m.
"In an ideal scenario, the second candidate leaves at 2, we take a 30-minute break and then go into executive session and deliberate over the two," Patton said on Tuesday, noting that she needs to confirm whether that deliberation needs to take place in open session.
(Deliberations take place in open session, according to the attorney general's office.)
"The decision could be we love them both, we don't like either or we pick one. The safety net we have that I don't want to overuse is we have the option of Peter [Fohlin] coming back for a period of time, per diem, three or four days a week."
Fohlin, who retired after 15 years on the job, last month agreed to serve as interim town manager starting next month.
Patton said she does not want the search for Fohlin's permanent replacement to become a quest for the outgoing town manager's "clone."
"I don't want to let the perfect get in the way of the possible," Patton said. "Peter's been awesome, but now he's decided to retire, and we need to move forward."
iBerkshires spoke with Angus Jennings last year in Pittsfield.
Patton said she envisions both finalists attending the Thursday evening meet-and-greet, where members of the public will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions. On Friday, it will be the board's turn to ask the questions, she emphasized.
She also suggested that the board may wish to have each candidate prepare a small presentation for the Selectmen — role playing how each of them might make such a presentation to the board at an actual meeting.
Patton said the town's headhunter, Northbrook, Ill.'s, GovHR, received 37 applications for the position. Twelve were forwarded to the town's screening committee, which ended up holding extensive interviews with four candidates and choosing three to bring to the BOS.
One of the candidates dropped out of the process at that point, leaving Jennings and Hoch.
In other business on Tuesday, the board elected Patton to replace Ronald Turbin as chairman, elected Andrew Hogeland vice chairman and Hugh Daley as secretary and appointed newly elected Anne O'Connor to take departed Selectman Tom Sheldon's place on the board of the town's Affordable Housing Trust.

Tags: interview,   town administrator,   

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Hasty Wants Williamstown to Do the 'Hard Right'

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Forget forsythias.
The real harbinger of spring in small towns is the political lawn sign.
And this spring, Wade Hasty livened up Williamstown's curbsides with distinctive bright yellow and green signs carrying a simple message, "Electorate leads the way," and bordered by images of flowers.
"I'm anti-partisan," Hasty said in explaining his choice in color scheme. "At this time in the American social climate, a large grouping are hyper-partisan. I chose two colors that represent the two largest third-party organizations. The mayflower outlines the sign as it is the Massachusetts state flower. I'm a 'transplant,' and I thought, 'how fitting.' "
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