Re-post is delayed as Hanson Town Administrator search continues in January, aiming to lure more applicants
HANSON — Selectmen Tuesday night voted unanimously to delay re-posting the town administrator’s position until January, with the aim of having someone in the job by April 1, 2016.
The timetable issue cropped up during a discussion of the new $100,000-$120,000 salary range and the need to detail the “excellent benefits package” currently mentioned in the ad.
“I think the benefits package is a good amount of money, compared to other towns,” Selectman Chairman Bruce Young said. “If we elaborate on that then we can attract more applicants.”
The delay is intended as a mechanism by which officials hope to attract more than the 21 applicants received after the first posting, while keeping the two already selected finalists in reserve.
Interim Town Administrator Richard LaCamera suggested the delay and advised selectmen that the salary increase, dependent on Town Meeting approval, could still be offered under cash reserves already available in the fiscal 2016 budget to offer the higher salary for six months.
If the increase is then rejected by Town Meeting, LaCamera said, “It’s like any other town employee — it gets voted down. All contracts are renewable year-to-year, subject to Town Meeting appropriation.”
Selectmen Kenny Mitchell had advocated waiting until March to re-post, but Young pointed out that waiting that long could overlap the town election cycle.
“Right now it’s very slim pickings, in my opinion,” Mitchell said of the low number of applicants seen so far.
LaCamera noted, in response to a resident’s question, that the delay makes sense as qualified candidates who might be interested in applying are now busy with work on fiscal 2017 budgets.
“I’m not trying to discourage you from doing anything,” he said. “I think you should have gotten a lot more candidates that should have applied. If you do it now, I’m not sure you’ll get a lot more candidates.”
Selectmen also tabled appointment of a General By-Law Committee on LaCamera’s advice, pending a review of the current by-laws by town counsel — leaving the three applicants attending the meeting rather all dressed up with no place to go.
Joseph Campbell of 150 Woodbine Ave., who works in IT at Bay State Telephone & Security; Amy Wright of 19 Lance Lane, who works for Stewart Title Guaranty Co.; and healthcare professional Jennifer Killeen of 14 Crooker Place, were all in attendance at the meeting.
The By-Law Committee has not met in four years.
“I would suggest we look at what the charge is for this particular committee,” LaCamera said. “There’s a lot of state statutes, and stuff like that, that have changed over the years.”
He also felt the five-member committee’s need for applicants has not adequately been publicized by selectmen.
In other business, Holiday Committee member Steve Amico outlined plans for the annual Holiday Festival from 5:30to 7:30 p.m., followed by fireworks, on Dec. 12. Selectmen approved use of the Town Hall green for the event.
The Holiday Committee is also selling $5 buttons to help defray costs of the free event. Buttons may be obtained by contacting Amico at 781-293-2532, or by looking for them at local stores.
Individuals or businesses seeking to make donations may do so via the Hanson Holiday Committee account at Rockland Trust, Amico said.
Young then asked Amico if the Holiday Committee was an official town committee, igniting some low-level sparks.
“If it was [an] official town committee, I couldn’t be on it,” said Amico. As a recalled selectman, he is prohibited from serving on official boards for two years following his June 2014 recall.
Young then suggested the Holiday and Hanson Day committees should be “sanctified” as official town committees and suggested the question might be brought before a future Town Meeting “so they just don’t disappear.”
“I appreciate your input, but I think we’re going to remain independent at this point in time,” Amico said.
“It’s not your decision,” Selectman Bill Scott said in an aside.
Amico replied that a Town Meeting article it was up to the board.
Selectmen’s Executive Assistant Meredith Marini suggested a committee that will need official status — and should be formed soon — is one to plan Hanson’s bicentennial observances in 2020.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said.
Young indicated he has already heard from one Scout leader who is interested in helping plan it.