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Northfield preps thorough admin. selection process

NORTHFIELD — The Selectboard will sort through nearly 30 resumes for an interim town administrator, hoping to hire one as soon as possible.

Friday will be Thomas Hutcheson’s last day as Northfield’s town administrator. He has taken a job as town administrator for Conway, and will start there Monday.

Though Selectboard Chairman John “Jack” Spanbauer hoped the board would select one top candidate at Tuesday’s meeting, and set up an interview, the board will take a less timely, more thorough approach.

“There are several (applicants) I think are worthy of considering,” said board member Jed Proujansky. “I don’t think that, based solely on their resumes, we can come up with the number one candidate.”

Rather than rush to select one, he suggested they come up with a few viable candidates.

Board members were reluctant to begin ranking applicants in an open meeting. Member Dan Gray said it may be unfair to name applicants in such an early stage.

Because of Open Meeting Law stipulations, board members may not discuss applicants outside of a meeting. As individuals, however, the board’s three members can evaluate applicants on their own, and bring their findings back to the full board.

Each member will select five top candidates, and assign a ranking to each. These rankings will be compiled, and interviews will be set up with the top candidates.

Interviews will be conducted in open session, though wage negotiations will be done behind closed doors.

The board has said that the interim administrator would likely work a 20-hour week. Their pay rate would need to allow for some overlap at the end, should the interim and permanent positions be filled by different people, while still staying within the budget already set for administration.

Looking ahead

The town won’t be able to evaluate applicants for a permanent replacement until an updated job description is approved this fall.

A committee studying different forms of government and administrative support for the town has asked the Selectboard for time to revise the position’s job description before a permanent replacement is selected.

The Town Governance Study Committee will have until early September to submit its recommendation for a job description.

The Selectboard will appoint a search committee to narrow the list of applicants for the permanent position, and make recommendations to the Selectboard.

Selectboard members have said that an interim administrator would be able to throw their hat into the ring for the full-time position.

Some of the applicants for the interim position have indicated that they are not seeking a permanent job, said Hutcheson.

The Selectboard would like the search committee to consist of five to seven members. Residents interested in participating on the committee may fill out citizen interest forms at Town Hall.

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

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