Select Board Interviews Town Manager Finalists

Listen to this article

READING, MA — The Select Board gathered at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday for a marathon session to interview all four finalists for the office of Town Manager recently vacated by Fidel Maltez. Each candidate spent about an hour and a half answering questions posed by consultant Bernie Lynch and members of the board.

Clancy Main

Clancy Main, the first interviewee, is the Assistant Town Manager in Billerica. He has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science. Before becoming the Assistant Town Manager, Main was the Director of Administrative Services and a Budget and Management Analyst in Billerica. Before Billerica, he was the Executive Assistant to Littleton’s Town Administrator and the Chief of Staff to former Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo.

Main shared that he grew up in North Reading and attended Austin Preparatory School. As a result, he is familiar with the community. He also indicated that he would be looking to relocate his family from Derry, New Hampshire, to the local area if he were selected to be Town Manager in Reading. In his current role, he has taken the lead in several capital projects and has worked in economic development. 

“Reading is going to do a lot of the stuff that we have [already] done,” Main indicated. 

Main referred to himself as a team builder who likes to collaborate and is ‘always there” for his employees. He also emphasized his commitment to the citizens of the town, “I’m always about the community, I try to be a unifier,” Main stated. He sees his diversity and inclusion work as being one who makes sure that every person is “comfortable at the table.” He also shared that he is willing to own up to mistakes and admit when he is wrong. 

Main shared that he will be committed to Reading for the long term, “I got into [local government] because I want to help people. This is the job I want in the place I want to be,” Main concluded.

Matthew Kraunelis

The next finalist interview was with Matthew Kraunelis. Kraunelis, who has a Doctor of Law degree, is the current Assistant Town Manager of Reading and was recently appointed as the Interim Town Manager. He also has a bachelor’s degree in English. Before being promoted to Assistant Town Manager, Kraunelis was the Director of Administrative Services in Reading. Prior to his service in Reading, he worked for the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations and also served as the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Methuen.

Kraulenis shared that he has loved his time of service in Reading and that he wants to continue. “We have a really good team, and I want to stay to captain the team,” he added. He also noted that members of the staff are looking for stability in leadership after a short term with the previous town manager. 

“I can be that stable foundation for Reading’s bright future,” Kraunelis affirmed.

Kraunelis described himself as a servant-leader who likes to inspire people. He also emphasized the need to provide excellent services to residents at a reasonable cost, the importance of a diverse workforce, and the desire to continue to “hunt down” grant monies for the town. If hired, he will look for an assistant town manager who compliments, not copies, his skill set.

Matthew Coogan

Matthew Coogan is the Town Administrator of Boxford. He has a master’s degree in urban planning and a bachelor’s in anthropology and philosophy. Before serving in Boxford, he was the Chief of Staff for the City Administrator of Newburyport, the Town Planner for Essex, and the Senior Planner in Salem. Coogan also served as a Senior Planner in Gloucester. He described his role as “working with people to help a community thrive.”

He was frank about an automobile accident in which he ran into a telephone pole after he had been drinking. He referred to the incident as “a huge lapse in judgment,” which was a mistake for which he took full responsibility, but he has not let it define him. He stated that he is grateful no one was hurt by his actions.

Coogan described his leadership style as one that is based on “multi-levels of communication” both with staff as well as members of the community. He prides himself on his level of approachability and uses newsletters, emails, and social media as outlets for community information. He stated that he has a good understanding of how municipal financing works and has “significant experience” in grant writing. 

Coogan shared that he believes in bringing stakeholders together early in the land development process, even before a developer has a completed plan available, to help save time and resources for the town and the developer. He also uses recognition of accomplishments to help provide a positive work environment for staff.

“I have a lot of experiences to draw from; I wear a lot of hats in Boxford; these make me a dynamic candidate [for Reading],” he concluded.

Antonio Barletta

Antonio Barletta is the Town Administrator of Nahant. He has a master’s degree in public affairs and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Prior to coming to Nahant, Barletta worked for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Barletta also served as a Staff Director and research analyst for the Massachusetts Legislature. He shared that he was drawn to the position in Reading partially due to the town’s desire for a long-term relationship with a new town manager. He is also intrigued by the prospect of working on the development of the downtown.

Baletta says that he has a “listening and learning” management style and likes to be able to treat his staff as family. He believes that the role of the town manager is “to keep the surface calm” despite all the challenges that are being faced. “[Another] role of the town manager is to make the community feel like the town is working on its behalf, problem-solving in a way that promotes belief in town government,” Barletta suggested. He also views the relationship between the schools and the town as vital.

“School success is town success, and vice-versa. What is good for [the schools] is good for the town,” he proclaimed.

Barletta indicated that he sees himself as a “player-coach” as he manages his team and that, as a leader, I want to ensure that the team is developing for long-term success.

The Select Board will discuss the candidates and intends to vote on their choice for the new town manager at its February 6 meeting. The board adjourned at 3:30 pm.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email