, Newburyport, MA

May 21, 2013

Seabrook selectmen to start choosing town manager finalists


---- — SEABROOK — Before making their final choice for the next town manager, selectmen plan to release the names of those who make the short list of finalists.

The application window closes tomorrow at 3 p.m., but as of yesterday morning more than 30 candidates had sent in resumes to be considered for the job. Once the deadline arrives selectmen will meet to begin the selection process.

Noon on Friday will be the first meeting selectmen hold to review all the resumes as a board, although they have already begun reading the resumes individually. Friday’s official review will take place in non-public session, they said, but the board will convene following the meeting to announce the total number of applicants.

The group will winnow down the list of all applicants to those they will interview, they said, and interviews will be conducted in non-public session. However, once the interviewed candidates are trimmed down into a list of finalists, the board will hold a public meeting to announce the names of the finalists.

Until that list of finalists is developed, selectmen will honor candidates’ who request confidentiality during the initial review and interview period.

In April, selectmen decided to take on the entire task of finding the town’s new town manager themselves, instead of hiring a search firm, as had been the process previously. Selectmen said after getting quotes from top firms, they realized it was too much money to spend to hire an employment consultant.

At the same meeting, selectmen approved the list of requirements they wanted in a candidate, and which appeared in the job posting. Requirements they want candidates to possess include a demonstrated record in management, as well as personnel, financial, and communication skills, plus a working knowledge of New Hampshire municipal law, experience in union negotiations, and at least three to five years of work in public administration.

It’s been almost a year since selectmen abruptly suspended former manager Barry Brenner for undisclosed reasons. The job has been filled since early June by interim Town Manager Joe Titone.

Selectmen came to a confidential financial separation agreement with Brenner, in which he was awarded $110,080.08 in direct salary, in addition to $19,595.61 for Brenner’s retirement costs. The town had already paid Brenner his earned vacation pay.

The confidentiality agreement prohibits selectmen from discussing why Brenner was terminated.