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Duxbury

Duxbury looking at two candidates for town manager

Duxbury is considering two town administrators from nearby communities to become its next town manager.

Norwell’s town administrator, James Boudreau, and Hanson’s town administrator, René Read, are in contention for the position, which became available following Richard MacDonald’s retirement on Jan. 25. Selectmen had planned to interview the candidates Tuesday, at a public meeting, but last weekend’s blizzard and subsequent cleanup forced them to postpone the interviews, now expected to be held some time next week.

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“Overall, we want someone who’s very knowledgeable about the municipal world, especially in the areas of contracts, 40B housing, all those kinds of things you’d expect a town administrator to be on top of. We don’t want to bring in someone who’s going to have a long learning curve,” said Ted Flynn, chairman of the Duxbury selectmen. A strong understanding of municipal finance is also a must, he said.

MacDonald, 65, is working as interim town manager and is expected to continue in that position until a new person is hired. He will be on board for the March 9 annual Town Meeting. Since the chosen candidate will need to give up to 90 days’ notice to his current employer, Duxbury probably won’t have a new town manager until at least May, Flynn said.

The town received 23 applications for the position and interviewed four candidates, according to Wayne ­Heward, chairman of the town manager search committee and the personnel board. The committee picked three finalists; one has withdrawn due to family issues, leaving Boudreau and Read as the top candidates.

Duxbury’s search began in November with internal and external job postings, as well as local and national advertising. The committee took a number of factors into consideration, including experience running local municipalities and financial expertise, Heward said.

“It was not one specific thing that was important. We looked at a number of factors. Then we graded the individual candidates based upon these factors,” he said.

Of the finalists, Heward said: “We feel that they have the experience in town government that we wanted. They are both currently managing or town administrators in local communities. Not that we were specifically looking for someone local; it just turned out that these were.”

Neither of the two Duxbury employees who applied for the job — director of inspectional services Scott Lambiase and finance director John Madden — were chosen as finalists.

MacDonald’s salary was $147,285 through the fiscal year ending June 30, though he will not receive the full amount due to his retirement after seven years as town manager. He is working on a temporary contract with the town. There is no salary range set for the position, and the new town manager will negotiate his salary with the town before he is hired, Heward said.

Boudreau, town administrator in Norwell since 1998, had previously worked in Holbrook as town administrator for three years. He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Boudreau was unavailable for comment. Norwell paid Boudreau $127,500 for fiscal year 2012, with a monthly auto allowance of $500, as part of a three-year contract that ends in July. Norwell selectmen said at the time that Boudreau had been effective in leading union contract negotiations and led the centralization of emergency dispatch operations for the town.

In 2011, Boudreau was a finalist for town manager in Falmouth but did not get the job.

Read has been Hanson’s town administrator since 2009. He was Mashpee’s assistant town manager and also worked as acting town administrator in Harwich, and has also served as a finance director, community planning director, and in other municipal positions. Read graduated from the University of Vermont, where he met his wife, a Norwell native. He is originally from Los Angeles.

A Duxbury resident for 10 years, Read is married with two young children. He has a “vested interest in the community,” he said; his oldest child is in the prekindergarten program at the Chandler School.

“I want to be part of the governing team that has consistently helped set the standard for other well-run communities to emulate and continue in that tradition, and I believe my qualifications and expertise will allow me to make an immediate, positive contribution toward that effort,” Read said.

The Hanson selectmen have been supportive of his decision to apply for the job, Read said. His contract requires 60 days’ notice.

“I’m thrilled about being able to live and work in the community at once; it would be a terrific scenario,” he said.

Most towns have either a town manager or town administrator, whose duties can vary depending on the bylaws of the municipality.

Town managers frequently have more responsibilities, such as the ability to appoint and deal with personnel, including creating collective-bargaining agreements, and preparing budgets.

Town administrators often act as chief executive officers who make recommendations, with final decisions made by selectmen.

Sarah Coffey can be reached at srmcoffey@yahoo.com.
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