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Northfield to interview hiring consultants

NORTHFIELD — The town will seek the help of professional consultants as it continues the search for a full-time administrator.

The Selectboard decided to interview nonprofit consultants with the Collins Institute of the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association, before deciding which firm to hire.

Both were recommended by interim Town Administrator Robert Markel, who has experience with both agencies. Either firm would cost about $7,500, much less than for-profit firms.

Markel said a hired firm would develop a list of candidates to present to a search committee for review. The Selectboard would decide on which candidate, if any, to hire.

The board had hoped to hire a full-time administrator by February, but two searches proved unsuccessful.

The latest search ended in March, with a single candidate. The Selectboard decided that John Sanguinet did not have the leadership qualities they were looking for. Other finalists had accepted jobs in other towns by the time the Selectboard scheduled interviews.

The town has been without a full-time administrator since Tom Hutcheson left to take a similar position in Conway last August.

After Hutcheson announced his departure, the town revamped the position to give it more authority, as well as a higher salary.

The job description and pay rate were both approved at a 2013 special town meeting.

Northfield brought in former Foxboro town manager Kevin Paicos as an interim administrator last fall, but Paicos left for a full-time job out of state.

Markel was then hired, but the retiree said he has no interest in taking on the job full-time.

Tuesday, the Selectboard voted to extend his contract for six weeks, until mid-May.

This is the second time the board has had to extend his contract as it searched for a new administrator.

The Selectboard hopes to interview the two consulting firms at its April 22 meeting.

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

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