NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 4, 2013

Town manager search to begin in Seabrook

Selectman calls for more transparency in decision-making

(Continued)

Kelly said he’ll research more thoroughly the Open Meeting Law so violations don’t happen, even by accident, in the future.

At the meeting, Kelly and Hess approved a motion to hire a professional recruitment firm to conduct the search for the new town manager and to start looking for the right recruiter immediately.

Khan voted against the motion, saying that in addition to the recruiter, he wanted a search committee consisting of other elected officials: the tax collector, town clerk, treasurer and the chairpeople of both the Budget Committee and Planning Board.

Khan said the search committee could cull the candidates, then send the top five or six to selectmen, who would make the final choice. He added that having more people involved in the selection process would improve the level of transparency in choosing the next town manager.

But Khan’s motion for a recruiter/search committee combo failed to garner a second and died, as did Kelly’s motion to skip spending the money for a recruiter altogether and for selectmen to handle the search themselves.

Khan implied Kelly didn’t want a recruiting firm because he might have a candidate in mind already, but Kelly denied it.

After the meeting, Kelly said he believes the comments made at the meeting by Small and perhaps others could have been intended to harm his bid for re-election.

“It was a very, very tough day,” Kelly said. “I was very upset about those accusations.”

Small urged selectmen to hold off on the town manager search until after the election, which is about five weeks away. He said the new Board of Selectmen will be the one working with the town manager, so it wouldn’t hurt to wait a few weeks until the board was in place.

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