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Northfield picks Paicos for interim town admin.

CORRECTION: The former occupation of Raymond Zukowski was misstated. Zukowski is the retired chief of the Montague Police Department.

NORTHFIELD — The town could have an interim administrative assistant as early as Monday.

The Selectboard announced Tuesday that it chose Kevin Paicos to oversee the town’s day-to-day business until a permanent replacement is chosen.

Paicos was recently bought out of his contract as town administrator for Foxborough, after differences with that town. He continues to be on-call for Foxborough.

Paicos, should he accept the contract drawn up by Northfield, will be paid $43 per hour, and work a 20-hour week.

This rate of pay drew a “nay” vote from Selectboard member Dan Gray, who said the level of compensation was his only problem with the contract.

Selectboard Chairman John “Jack” Spanbauer said the figure had been reached through negotiations with Paicos.

Before he started in Foxborough in 2010, Paicos had been an administrator in Ashburnham, Winchendon, Hingham and Easton, as well as Seabrook, N.H.

During his August interview, Paicos told the board he was not interested in the permanent position. Paicos said he is retiring from full-time work, and will begin collecting a pension next summer.

At that meeting, the board also interviewed Joseph Kellogg, who retired from a position as Sandisfield’s town administrator two years ago. Kellogg also said he was not interested in a full-time job as Northfield’s administrator.

The two finalists were chosen from about 30 resumes received for the interim administrator position.

Both have more than 30 years of experience in municipal administration, and seemed evenly matched in several other areas brought up in their interviews.

“We had two darn good candidates to choose from,” said Selectboard member Jed Proujansky. “I would have been happy with either of the two finalists.”

“In some respects, (we chose Paicos) because of our initial impressions,” said Spanbauer.

“I don’t think there was any one issue that we based the decision on,” said Proujansky. He said the three Selectboard members deliberated on the decision at length during executive session.

Gray said he had no comment on the board’s choice.

Though Paicos lives in Easton, more than two hours away, he told the board he would rent an apartment in town, and stay there during his work week.

Next steps

The town will form a search committee to recommend candidates for the full-time town administrator position.

After Tom Hutcheson announced in July that he was leaving Northfield to take a job as Conway’s town administrator, the Selectboard, at the urging of a town committee, decided to hire an interim administrator so the full-time position could be examined before it was filled.

The Town Governance Study Committee asked the board to give them time to draft a new job description for the permanent position. Tuesday, the committee presented the seven-page draft to the board.

Members said it would further empower the position, but not make it too authoritative.

“We feel that this (description) strikes a good balance” between a weak “administrative assistant” position and a more authoritative “town manager,” said Christian Guertin, committee member.

The Selectboard will ask five residents to serve on the search committee. They are Governance Study Committee member Barry Bordner, former Selectboard member Nick Fleck, former chief of Gill Police Raymond Zukowski, Conservation Commission member Joan Deely, and Michael Noble, a local accountant.

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

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