Reading to Hire New Town Manager in Early 2022
Reading, MA — Reading Public Library was the scene for a community forum regarding hiring a new town manager on October 4. The forum, hosted by consultant Bernie Lynch of Community Paradigm, allowed residents to share their opinions regarding the skill sets and qualities they are looking for in a new town manager. According to Lynch, Community Paradigm has helped guide 65 communities through hiring managers over the past seven years. Community Paradigm has also helped hire 35 other municipal positions around the Commonwealth as well. Lynch continued, describing the purpose of the forum, “To spend time talking to stakeholders to really get a sense of the issues that are facing the town, and what people are looking for from the town manager.”
Several residents suggested that some qualities, such as financial and municipal management experience, are obvious, but others include proactive leadership and helping provide easier access to government information. Other issues such as control over community development and attracting a diverse workforce were also mentioned.
Resident Angela Binda suggested one quality she finds important is an ability to foster collaborative efforts between staff and volunteers. In contrast, resident James Bonazoli summarized, “We are looking for a mature, experienced person who has gone through these issues before, but is also nimble and flexible.”
Lynch stated that he expects to receive about 30-35 applications for the position. About one-third of those will be highly qualified persons, one-third will be somewhat qualified, and about one-third will have no municipal experience whatsoever. The Select Board will appoint a screening committee to review applications, interview candidates, and recommend three finalists to the Select Board. Lynch expects an offer to be made to one of those candidates by the beginning of 2022.
Lynch concluded the session by sharing his belief that many communities are looking for a person with a maximum amount of skills and a passion for the community and their profession. Lynch closed by encouraging residents to fill out an online survey that is found on the town website.
The forum ended at about 8:00 pm.