Select Board Creates Town Manager Screening Committee

Reading, MA — The Select Board voted 5-0 on Wednesday to create a seven-person committee that will be charged with screening applicants for the position of Town Manager in Reading. As voted, the committee will be composed of two members of the Select Board, the Town Moderator, two department heads who are also residents of Reading, and two residents at-large. Residents interested in the role will have ten days to submit applications.

The committee will review resumes of interested candidates, conduct interviews, and present the Select Board with two to three finalists for their consideration. It was suggested by member Mark Dockser that Library Director Amy Lannon and Fire Chief Greg Burns be the two department heads involved, although member Anne Landry pointed out that just appointing them to the committee, without asking regarding their interest or availability, was premature. Several other town staff, including the assistant town manager, the town accountant, and the superintendent of schools will be invited to give input as well.

There was also discussion regarding which Select Board members should be on the committee. Chair Karen Herrick pointed out that when the last Town Manager was hired, the chair and vice-chair were the members who served. Member Christopher Haley expressed concern over what he referred to as the potential “partisan optics” that this could create. Member Carlo Bacci agreed and suggested that the two members of the Volunteer Appointment Sub-Committee, himself and Dockser, be appointed instead, pointing out that Dockser had served on the last screening committee. Herrick disagreed with the idea.  “[The Select Board] is a non-partisan board, so this argument has no weight here,” Herrick concluded. No specific decision was made on the matter.

The Board hopes to appoint the complete selection committee at their next meeting. The Select Board adjourned at 1:10 pm.

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