BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
---- — SEABROOK — Yesterday, as he was officially appointed and signed his two-year, $108,000 contract, Methuen’s former mayor, William “Bill” Manzi, took over as Seabrook’s new town manager.
Assuming the seat at the head at the selectmen’s boardroom table immediately after the formalities were over, Manzi brought to a close a more than year-long process of finding a permanent replacement for former Town Manager Barry Brenner, who was let go abruptly by selectmen in late May 2012.
Selectmen Aboul Khan, Ed Hess and Ray Smith all praised and thanked both executive secretary Kelly O’Connor and interim Town Manager Joe Titone for holding down the fort for more than a year. During Titone’s 13 months at the helm, he handled some difficult issues, selectmen said. He will return to his position as the town’s Emergency Management director, while temporarily working on some remaining personnel issues until Manzi gets up to speed.
The three selectmen took on the task of selecting a new town manager without the services of consultants or a search committee. According to all three, Manzi was the best of the 31 candidates who applied for the job.
“We are very excited that you are coming to Seabrook,” Khan told Manzi.
Manzi, 57, of Methuen, has an extensive background in municipal government, serving as a member of Methuen’s City Council for 12 years and its mayor for six after that, before he had to step down due to the city’s term limit requirement.
After thanking the board for having the confidence in his abilities to pick him for the job, Manzi said he’s truly looking forward to working in a community as “beautiful” as Seabrook, inhabited by such “great people.”
Manzi said one of his goals is to be an accessible town manager to townspeople, whether they like or disapprove of actions he takes.
“My doors are open to anyone who would like to talk,” Manzi said.
According to his employment contract with Seabrook, Manzi’s $108,000 a year contract — $28,000 more than he made as mayor of Methuen — may be increased by 2.5 percent on the one-year anniversary of his employment with the town. The town will match Manzi’s contributions to a retirement fund up to 5 percent of his salary, and agreed to cover 100 percent of his family plan for medical, prescription and dental insurance coverage. Manzi is entitled to 31 days vacation leave and 15 days sick leave per contract year.
Extending two years to July 1, 2015, if all parties are amenable, the contract can be renewed for one additional two-year term.