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In Foxborough, clerk steps up

Town Manager Kevin Paicos had been on military leave.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff/File 2010

Town Manager Kevin Paicos had been on military leave.

Foxborough selectmen have appointed Town Clerk Bob Cutler as acting town manager following a closed-door discussion with a labor attorney last week about current manager Kevin Paicos.

The selectmen voted unanimously after their executive session Tuesday to name Cutler to the town’s top job, indicating that Paicos had named Cutler temporarily to that role previously when he had to be out of town, and that Cutler is more than qualified. Paicos did not attend Tuesday’s meeting and did not return a call seeking comment.

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A Special Forces medic in the National Guard, Paicos was on military leave on May 29 when selectmen released a joint statement announcing that the controversial manager’s contract would not be renewed when it expires on June 30, 2014.

In a phone interview that night, Paicos told the Globe he was on military leave for two weeks. There is no indication that he ever returned to work.

During Tuesday’s selectmen meeting, board member James DeVellis said Cutler’s appointment is necessary “to replace Kevin while some issues are going on in executive session.”

DeVellis made a motion to name Cutler as acting town manager immediately, a move he said would remain in place “until further action.”

Cutler, a lifelong town resident and five-year town clerk, said in a later interview that he knows nothing more than what selectmen said publicly. He said he was glad to be able to step in.

Cutler has served previously as town moderator, and had seats on both the town’s Advisory Board and Board of Assessors, among other posts. He said he will split his time between his current job and the manager post if the appointment is short term. If the length of the arrangement is extended, he said he is sure there will be further discussions.

“It’s a good opportunity to help the town when we need it,’’ he said, deferring all comment to selectmen. “Anything else is up to them to discuss.’’

Board chairman Mark Sullivan was similarly tight-lipped Wednesday and said there was not much to say.

“Nothing has really changed,’’ he said.

Paicos has earned equal parts respect and ire during his three-year tenure — lauded for his financial and crisis management skills and ripped for being too outspoken and, according to one of his performance reviews, a tendency to “bully” employees at Town Hall.

In the May interview, Paicos, 60, said the agreement to not renew his contract was mutual because he plans to retire. Then, he said if the town wanted him back he would consider it.

News of the parting of ways followed a so-so April performance review in which Paicos received an aggregate grade of “satisfactory,” which officials said was fair but that Paicos said was insulting.

Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at michelebolton@live.com.
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