Conway administrator job description unchanged

CONWAY — As the Board of Selectmen looks to replace its town administrator, there will be few changes in the criteria it uses to search and hire a candidate.

The job description and salary will remain the same as it was when the selectmen hired Ed MacDonald in October as the town’s first full-time town administrator.

The position will still be a $52,000 a year, 37.5 hours per week job, in which the tasks will include attending selectmen’s meetings, monitoring activities in the town office, drafting policies, and writing grants.

And once again, the Personnel Committee and selectmen will work together to interview and hire a new town administrator.

The search process begins nearly four months after the selectmen hired MacDonald, a town admininstrator from Chester on Oct. 24.

MacDonald surprised the selectmen and resigned on Dec. 31, handing in a letter of resignation effective Feb. 7. He gave no reason for his departure and would not comment to the press.

The selectmen accepted MacDonald’s resignation with immediate departure last Monday after it was discovered that MacDonald had never quit his job in Chester.

According to Conway selectmen’s Chairman John O’Rourke, the selectmen were unaware that MacDonald was working two jobs.

The selectmen will work without a town administrator until they find a replacement.

According to the advertisement published in The Recorder on Tuesday, the town seeks an administrator with thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of municipal finances/budget, management, human resources management, collective bargaining and inter-governmental relations. A bachelor’s degree and five years related municipal experience is required. The town also advertised the position on Craig’s List, a website used to publish advertisements. The deadline to submit a resume and three references is 4 p.m. on Jan. 31. As of Tuesday, the town received one application.

The board may also consider hiring a new town administrative aide.

“We’re looking at a (town aide position) possibly,” said O’Rourke. “Somebody in addition to the town administrator to do other administrative duties.”

A new aide may resolve a conflict with a town meeting vote created when MacDonald laid off the former aide, Tom Spiro, before officially beginning his job in November. For 7½ years, Spiro was a 30-hour employee. He fulfilled a role similar to a town administrator until MacDonald laid him off, citing overlapping responsibilities.

In May, the town authorized the Board of Selectmen to create the position of full-time town administrator and authorized $70,000 for salary and benefits. At the same time, the town authorized paying the $46,391 for the town administrator aide budget, $27,982 of which made up Spiro’s salary for the rest of the year until May 2013.

However, Spiro was pink-slipped six months before the next annual town meeting.

With a new town administrator, the board also hopes to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the chain of command among the chairs of town boards and committees, the selectmen and town administrator.

“There was some confusion because of things Ed said during the time he was here,” O’Rourke said.

The chain of command — or who answers to whom or provides information — will remain the same as it was before MacDonald came to Conway.

The town administrator works for the selectmen. Committee chairs will go to the board with questions and information.

“The chain of command won’t change drastically,” O’Rourke said. “There are certain functions the town administrator will do and interact with other town boards and committees.”

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