Reading, MA — The Select Board reviewed the Town Manager after his first six months on the job on Tuesday. Town Manager Fidel Maltez shared that the six-month check-up allowed the board to provide feedback and direction to him as he continues in his position. Maltez began by giving the board a brief overview of his four “big picture” goals. These include gaining the trust of the staff and the community, working with the schools, exploring economic development, and continuing infrastructure improvements. Each member present mainly provided positive feedback. “You and [Superintendent of Schools] Dr. Milaschewski are exactly what Reading needs,” Select Board member Chris Haley declared. Both Carlo Bacci and Jackie McCarthy provided advice regarding the pace Maltez has set for himself. “You are still in the Hopkinton phase, we hope, of your tenure here,” McCarthy counseled, referencing the Boston Marathon. Vice-Chair Karen Herrick added, “You listen to us, you listen to the community, you are visible in the community.”Town-Manager-goals
Herrick also spoke favorably regarding Maltez’s building of relationships with the Reading Municipal Light Department, the schools, and the legislative delegation. Herrick shared she was impressed with the “amazing performance” in seeking and acquiring grants, exemplified by the state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant for $2.1 million for the Maillet, Sommes, Morgan conservation area, which, when combined with the expected $1.5 million from the Federal government, should pay for the project. Maltez will have his full review in February.
The board also reviewed updates to the town’s personnel policy, which has not had a full review since 2009. Highlights include expanding the probationary period to one year, allowing the town manager to offer exceptional candidates advanced salaries that exceed the current scale, an updated list of protected classes, and new policies on remote work. The board will have a public hearing on the proposed changes at its September 13 meeting.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the hiring of a new town treasurer; it appointed McCarthy to the working group developing a new housing production plan, it had a brief conversation on the town’s capital plan, and, by a vote of 4-0, made four volunteer appointments.