WHITMAN – Former Treasurer/Collector Mary Beth Carter is being offered the position of Town Administrator, it was announced at the Select Board’s Tuesday, Jan. 10 meeting.
The offer is conditional based on the outcome of contract negotiations.
“I have some slightly good news,” Chair Randy LaMattina said in making the announcement that interim Town Administrator Frank Lynam was making that recommendation. “Well, not slightly, I have tremendously good news.
He said Lynam had reached out to a “former employee – a great former employee,” who recently left, noting that the person “absolutely checks all the boxes we could possibly ask for” in a town administrator.
Carter, he said before mentioning her by name, is a proven employee.
“You know where her heart lies – with the town of Whitman,” LaMattina said. He added that she is very interested in the position.
Lynam called her the “best possible candidate out there right now.”
“I think her close to 20-year employment record here, her track record, her knowledge of the budget, her knowledge of our town, her commitment to our town, makes her [someone who] if she was still working for us I could just see this being a transfer from one department to another,” LaMattina said. “It makes sense,” he added, seeking a motion to offer her the position, which the board approved unanimously.
Both LaMattina and Lynam spoke of the struggle to find solid candidates in the town’s ongoing search for a full-time administrator.
Lynam said he reached out to Carter out of frustration with the results of the search.
“It wasn’t for lack of candidates, it was for a lack of qualified candidates,” he said. “Even when we had three to present, we lost one before we even came to the door, and at that point, we held off to try and assess whether this was the right way to go. I really made a leap in even calling her.”
Not only had Carter just left her position in Whitman, she had just accepted a job with the town of Norwell.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for Mary Beth to make, because the same qualities that make her a good manager and a good leader are the ones that challenge her to say, ‘Wait a minute, I just took another job.’”
He said that, if Carter accepts to offer, Whitman will be better off for it. Lynam noted he has worked with Carter ever since she began working for the town in 2005.
“She’s an incredible employee,” Lynam said. “She’s committed, she’s smart, she can do anything.”
He recalled having asked her several times over the years to take on tasks that would not routinely be the responsibility of a treasurer/collector, and without question, he could count on all the boxes being checked.
Vice Chair Dan Salvucci lauded Carter’s work ethic, noting she worked Fridays even though Town Hall is closed that day each week.
“If she needed to be, she was here on Saturdays,” he said.
LaMattina said the focus should be on obtaining a town administrator when Salvucci began outlining considerations for an assistant, should Carter agree to serve.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Select Board member Shawn Kain. “I couldn’t think of a better candidate [and] I’m really excited that she was willing to come back and work for the town, I think it’s exactly what we need.”
Members Dr. Carl Kowalski and Justin Evans also enthusiastically joined in the endorsement of appointing Carter.
In other business, resident Ken Lailer spoke during the meeting’s public forum to thank for Select Board and Fire Chief Timothy Clancy’s their tributes last month to his wife Marie, who passed away while on vacation — and to ask Select Board, historical boards in town and people of Whitman to try to establish a Whitman historical museum, which he would like to be named in his wife’s honor.
Mrs. Lailer was a dedicated CERT volunteer for many years, beginning as an EMT before she even became a nurse. But another of her passions, he said, was Whitman and its history.
“Her passion was with the old buildings, the research and surveys to place things on national registry, to refurbishing the old cemetery stones in Mt. Zion Cemetery and even … [being instrumental in the restoration of the Toll House sign at Wendy’s,” he said. “I’m here, willing to assist and fulfill her vision, but I will need guidance,” he said.
He added that Marie had written grants for some of the projects on which she worked.