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Northfield names interim administrator

Robert Markel was mayor of Springfield

NORTHFIELD — Former Springfield Mayor Robert Markel is the new interim town administrator for Northfield.

Markel served as mayor from 1992 to 1995, after seven terms on the city council. Since then, he’s gone on to hold town administrator and town manager positions in Norfolk, Ipswich and most recently in Kittery, Maine.

Before entering politics, he taught at American International College in Springfield, then Westfield State College.

He retired from his job as Kittery’s manager in January.

“It’s been 10 months, and I’ve realized that I don’t want to be retired,” Markel told the Selectboard.

He began to look into job opportunities, and a colleague suggested he call Northfield’s outgoing interim administrator, Kevin Paicos.

Paicos had previously said that the town would be hard-pressed to find an experienced candidate for the interim position at the pay rate Northfield was offering.

Markel said he’s fine with the $43 per hour the town paid Paicos.

“To be blunt, I am financially secure,” he said. “I’m very interested in the activity and the work. I miss it, and I’d like to dive back in.”

Though Markel lives in Charlestown, he has a condominium — and a fiance — in Springfield, and plans to live there during his workweek.

The Selectboard voted unanimously to appoint Markel as town administrator Tuesday.

Northfield still seeks a permanent administrator. A Dec. 9 special town meeting will decide whether to go with a new, more powerful job description for the town administrator. The Selectboard has been waiting until that vote to begin the search for a full-time administrator.

Before he was hired, Paicos told the board in no uncertain terms that he was not interested in a full-time job.

There may be some flexibility on Markel’s part.

“It’s perhaps a little soon,” he said when the board asked if he’d be interested in the permanent position.

“I’d prefer to answer that in a month or two.”

Markel was asked to start immediately, and will work up to 20 hours per week during his time as interim administrator.

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