Residents weigh in on what they’d like to see in the next Town Manager
By Max Bowen
Great communications skills. Investment in the community. Commitment to local businesses.
These are some of the qualities residents wanted to see in the next person to hold the title of Town Manager in North Attleborough.
The firm of Community Paradigm Associates, which is managing the search process, held a forum last Thursday to get feedback on what the people want. Richard Kieltyka described North Attleborough as a laid back town that had been worked up by the recent Town Charter change and approval of the Proposition 2 ½ override.
“We just want a Superman or Superwoman,” he said.
The forum is part of the search process, from which will come a Position Statement used to describe the job and the qualifications sought. This will be advertised through a number of methods, including the Mass Municipal and International City/County Management associations. The estimated salary being offered will be $165,000-$185,000.
Bernie Lynch, principal of CPA, said there has been a lot of turnover as of late, with 35 town managers retiring since last January. CPA has a strong presence in the New England area, and has completed 34 town manager/administrator searches. He added that he and other staff members have served in the town manager role before.
“We’ve sat in these chairs and we know the role,” he said.
Bob Nerz said that the new Town Charter gives the town manager a great deal of power, and the hope was to find someone who would use it well. He added that someone open to advice and new ideas was important.
“We need someone who won’t use the power to be a dictator,” he said.
Ben Chalot works with Brown University’s Masters of Public Affairs program, and said many of the graduates go on to work in government. He suggested that someone who is tech-savvy and has experience managing budgets and personnel would be key. He moved here with his wife some time ago and said the town is a great place to live in.
“This is a safe town, good pubic schools, with a small-town feel but with access to two cities,” said Chalot. “We’re very excited and have no angst about this. We’re very excited and hopeful.”
Marie Carter grew up in New York City but said she had always wanted to live in North Attleborough, recalling visits to her cousins, who lived near Whitings Pond. She said the town has struggled to find its identity since the jewelry factories closed. She wants someone with relevant experience, both on the local and state level.
“It’s important for someone to come to North Attleborough who’s going to wind up caring for North Attleborough,” said Carter. “There are so many people in this town that are so willing to give.”