Northfield still without full-time admin.

NORTHFIELD — The search for a new town administrator has been narrowed to a single candidate — for the moment.

John Sanguinet and Carlotta Pini were the two finalists recommended to the Selectboard by the Town Administrator Search Committee, and Sanguinet is the last man standing after Pini accepted another job offer. While it may appear that the decision has been made for the board, it’s not so straightforward.

Sanguinet was brought in for a public interview Tuesday, but failed to win over a majority of the board.

“I’m a little hesitant,” said Selectboard member Jed Prounjansky. “I don’t see (Sanguinet) as a home run, but he certainly hasn’t struck out.”

Proujansky said he would like the board to consider feedback from others before deciding whether to hire Sanguinet.

“I’d like to interview another candidate, to make it fair,” said Selectboard member Dan Gray.

“I think (Sanguinet) has the most pertinent experience,” said Selectboard Chairman John “Jack” Spanbauer.

If the board doesn’t make a decision in a timely fashion, they could find it being made for them.

Sanguinet has been offered a job as town administrator of Clarksburg, but has yet to accept.

Sanguinet was brought up in Greenfield, relocated to the eastern part of the state for college and stayed to pursue job opportunities. Currently living in Plymouth, he told the board he hopes to return to the Pioneer Valley, with his family in tow.

Sanguinet has served as town administrator of Abington, assistant to the town administrator of Truro and assistant to the mayor of Attleboro.

He has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in political science, both from Northeastern University.

From January 2008 to December 2010, he served as assistant town administrator of Wareham. Since then, he said, he has been looking for a job in municipal government, and working at a restaurant and a Home Depot in the meantime.

Northfield has been without a full-time administrator since Tom Hutcheson left last August to become Conway’s town administrator. Since then, the Northfield position has been revamped to have more power and authority. A pay increase was also approved by residents at a special town meeting, to attract more well-qualified candidates.

The Selectboard also feels that a well-qualified town administrator could effectively pay for himself, by writing successful grant applications that would result in lowered costs to the town.

Officials have said they hope to bring in a new town administrator as soon as they can, so the new hire can be brought up to speed before the May 5 annual town meeting.

The contract with interim administrator Robert Markel has been extended to April, so he may aid in the transition to a full-time administrator. Markel, a retiree, was not interested in the position, stating that he prefers to work part-time.

An initial search last fall netted dozens of applicants, none of whom the Selectboard felt was suited for the job. A second search over the winter saw 23 applicants, which were narrowed to two by the search committee, with a few semi-finalists taking themselves out of the running by accepting job offers, or simply not returning the committee’s phone calls or emails.

The Selectboard could make a decision as soon as its next meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday. If additional candidates are to be considered, however, it could be further delayed.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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