The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 10, 1999


Search is on for new town administrator

Town administrator David DeManche has given formal notice that he is vacating his position. At a joint meeting of the selectmen and personnel board on Tuesday, December 7, board of selectmen chair Doug Stevenson announced that DeManche has agreed to work full-time through the end of the year, and then will work on a part-time basis while the town searches for a new town administrator. Realistically, said Stevenson, this transition period will last no more than three to four months.

"More than a few of us have done this before, all too recently," said Stevenson, referring to the upcoming search for a new town administrator. DeManche has been town administrator for barely two years, and the previous town administrator,, held the position for just years.

Expanded job description

According to the intended advertisement for the position, the qualified candidate would have a BS/BA degree (a master's degree preferred) and at least five years experience in municipal management, preferably in Massachusetts. This time around, however, the job description will include one major addition - explicit responsibility for financial oversight.

As yet, there does not seem to be consensus on the extent of financial oversight to be required of the administrator. Stevenson said that the financial team has been discussing how much financial responsibility the town administrator should have. As part of these discussions, the FinTeam has taken into account the possibility that there might be a need for a town financial director and that the treasurer and tax collector will be changing to appointed positions which report to the town administrator. "If the finance committee is to be more of a policy making analytical group we will need the town administrator to take on more of the finance role," said selectman Michael Fitzgerald. Stevenson replied, "The FinCom is not looking to give up its number crunching and spreadsheet review responsibilities to a town employee," but rather is looking for the town administrator to be a focal point for communication among all town financial personnel.

Selectman John Ballantine has approached former town administrator Paul Cohen to see if Cohen would be interested in returning to Carlisle, with no luck. Moreover, Cohen advised Ballantine that the applicant pool for town administrators is likely to be slim because of the tight job market and because administrators usually wait until after their annual town meetings to make a move. Cohen also noted that town administrators tend to plateau at around age 35, which led Ballantine to speculate that the board's presumption that Carlisle can be a stepping stone to a larger community may have to be rethought. The good news, according to Ballantine, is that the salary range of between $60,000 and $75,000 which Carlisle is offering is right on target for the greater Route 495 area.

Search process

The search committee, formed on Tuesday, will include two members of the personnel board, one past member of the finance committee, one past selectman and one "qualified citizen at large." Susan Stamps of the personnel board elaborated that the citizen at large position should be filled by someone who deals with the town administrator and has some vision of how the town should be run.

A job listing will be published this weekend with a deadline for responses set for January 21. The search committee will then take two weeks to review the applications and another one to two weeks to interview candidates. After reference checks and reviews by the selectmen, the town could make an offer by the middle or end of March. At the earliest, a new town administrator could be on board by April. "Just in time for Town Meeting," observed selectman Burt Rubenstein. If no qualified candidates apply by the January 21 deadline, the process will be reopened. The board of selectmen will consider hiring an interim town administrator should the search process not be complete before the end of DeManche's transition period.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito