LtE: Town Manager Selection Process

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Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to learn about the OML violation that resulted in Jackie McCarthy’s recusal from the Select Board’s Town Manager vote. I hope the other Select Board members do the right thing by disclosing any and all conversations they had with each other about Town Manager candidates (regardless of whether or not these conversations were with Ms. McCarthy). Reading residents deserve full transparency about the details of the OML violation, in part to help ensure similar issues don’t arise in the future.

It is unfortunate that the remaining members couldn’t come to an agreement about whom to hire after Ms. McCarthy’s recusal and resignation. I am confused and frustrated by board members Haley and Bacci’s resistance (at the 2/6/24 Select Board meeting) to engaging in a deliberative process to determine who might be their second choices in addition to their top choice of Mr. Kraunelis. This was a major contributing factor to the stalemate. Why were these two members so insistent on an internal candidate who, while well-liked and competent, irrefutably lacks the experience and qualifications of at least two of the other finalists?     

In addition to whether candidates are liked by their staff, I hope that when discussion continues, ALL Select Board members consider the following important criteria when thinking about the best candidate for Reading’s next Town Manager:

  • Demonstrated history of engagement with residents, boards, committees, and business owners. 
  • Experience advocating for and leading to completion of large-scale town projects.
  • Experience managing town and/or large department budgets. 


Carolyn Johnson
Thorndike St.
Town Meeting Member, P2

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