The Town Council discusses the best timing for a new town manager to take office at its Aug. 12 meeting. While some felt it would be best to move forward as soon as possible, others believed waiting to the end of the budget cycle was a better approach. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Council discusses best time to transition to new town manager
By Max Bowen
As part of the search process for a new town manager, the Town Council looked at the ideal time to bring a new person on board.
The council voted unanimously to authorize Town Council President Keith Lapointe to inform Acting Town Manager Michael Gallagher that his contract wouldn’t be continued and would end at the end of the year. This is part of the process and Gallagher is in no way precluded from applying for the position. It was also approved for Lapoointe to speak to Gallagher about potentially extending his contract a further six months.
“I hope that our existing town manager applies,” said Councilor John Simmons. “I’m always amazed by the depth of knowledge that is at hand.”
It was the timeline of the transition that raised the most concern. Lapointe said he was nervous about bringing on a new town manager—assuming Gallagher is not chosen for the role—in December, the midway point in the budget process. While he said this would not be an insurmountable problem, citing the skilled department heads, it could lead to a level-serviced budget.
“It wakes me up at night what that might look like,” said Lapointe at the Aug. 12 council meeting.
Councilman Darius Gregory felt that as the council had just been elected and transitioned to this new form of government it would help to at what the pros and cons of immediately moving forward were.
“Gallagher’s not doing anything detrimental now,” said Gregory. “Maybe he can stay on until May, we can take our time.”
While most of the council agreed it may best to extend the contract to May, some felt it was time to move forward. Simmons said sticking to the Dec. 31 deadline “holds our feet to the fire.”
Councilman Justin Pare said the extension was disrespectful to Gallagher, whom he felt is a strong candidate for the job. He echoed Lapointe’s concern that working on a budget so late in the process could be a challenge, but he felt that whoever is chosen for the role will have the resources to do the job well.
“I don’t want to delay anymore,” he said. “We should go forward as planned.”