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Adams to Post Administrator Position

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town will post the town administrator job position now that the Selectmen's personnel subcommittee has settled on a budget.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Christine Hoyt brought forth an advertisement budget Thursday of no more than $2,700 that the town accountant said was in line with what has been spent in the past.
"That seems fair and agreeable," Hoyt said.
With the departure of former Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco, the Selectmen have started the search process for a new administrator. Officials hope to have someone hired this summer.
Hoyt said the town allocated nearly $1,400 fin 2008 for advertisements and for the most recent search in 2014, the town allocated $1,600.
Selectman John Duval asked where the town would pull this money from.
Hoyt said typically it would come from the Selectmen's advertisement line item, however, there is only $15 in the account.
Hoyt said the selectmen would probably have to go for a reserve fund transfer. 
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan said she thought the town may be able to shift funds around in the town administrator's department budget.
"We run into this all of the time and I don't see why it would be a problem," Cesan said. "I will check with the town accountant, but when we go for reserve fund transfers those are big ticket items that we can't absorb in the budget. That is why we are allowed to kind of shift around."
The subcommittee also agreed to not put a residency requirement in the advertisement because they feared it would deter possible candidates right off the bat.
The full board has yet to discuss if the requirement will stand, however, the subcommittee felt the town charter was open to interpretation. 
Hoyt read from the charter that "He shall become a resident of the town within the first year of his appointment unless otherwise provided by the Board of Selectmen."
The two subcommittee members recommended eliminating the residency clause.
"If we have a well-qualified candidate that lives within Northern Berkshire County or when they come here they may want to live in Cheshire or North Adams," Duval said. "I personally don't see that as a problem." 
Hoyt agreed.
"I commute to Pittsfield every day for employment and I still feel like I am a part of that community, but I live here," she said. "So I can put it in that context and I think we can still make someone feel part of the town of Adams." 
The full board will discuss the issue at a future meeting.
Cesan noted the town is behind schedule and will start posting the position.
"I am just worried given the schedule," Cesan said. "We are already behind, so we need to get this thing going."
The subcommittee also nixed hiring a consultant to aid in the screening process because of budgetary reasons.
"I have been on either side of this and I have wrestled with it but given the price tag that comes with it and our current funding situation I don't know If now is the time," Hoyt said. 
Hoyt estimated it would cost the town upwards of $20,000 to hire a consultant. Instead, a member of the subcommittee will facilitate the screening committee meetings and act as an adviser.
"Legal was comfortable and I think it would be a good approach," Hoyt said. "It would be staffed by one member to serve in an administrative and support role to the screening committee."
Originally a selectman was to serve on the yet to be determined screening committee that will conduct the first round of interviews but Selectman Joseph Nowak had concerns about having a member on the committee.
The subcommittee moved on to another job opening and decided to start posting the Department of Public Works director position.
"We will not have anyone in that position by the end of February, so we need to get moving on this," Cesan said. "I would like to put an ad in the paper just to get this thing started."
Interim Director David Nuvallie plans to retire near the end of February.
The subcommittee agreed to allow Cesan to gather applications and start the screening process with the help of one of the subcommittee members.
Cesan will bring the final three recommendations to the Board of the Selectmen for final interviews.

Tags: search committee,   town administrator,   

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Adams Looks to Spur Development Through Zoning Changes

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Community Director Donna Cesan explains the reasoning behind making zoning changes to promote business. 
ADAMS, Mass. — Community Development Director Donna Cesan took center stage at Wednesday as the town continues to beat the bushes for new growth opportunities.
Cesan presented the Board of Selectmen with statistics regarding the current zoning bylaws as contrasted to surrounding municipalities. Adams has experienced little new commercial growth over the past several years while its neighbor North Adams has seen massive investment on both a private and public scale.
The initiative to revamp the town's zoning practices is another effort to stem the rise of property taxes and lessen the financial burden on homeowners. The process is an intricate one which involves both local and state participation plus the commonwealth's attorney general.
Cesan knows the process will be difficult but sees it as the next logical step in the town's business friendly campaign.
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