Marion considers its future at the top

Nov 28, 2018

MARION — In a few months, Marion will be operating without some familiar faces — and Selectmen met Monday to discuss the hiring process for the three top jobs.

Current Town Administrator Paul Dawson announced Nov. 6 that he is leaving the position effective March 15, citing personal reasons. With that in mind, along with impending vacancies for Treasurer-Collector and Department of Public Works director, Selectmen met Monday to discuss the hiring process for each opening. 

Selectmen first considered the option of writing a bylaw which specifies the responsibilities and duties of the town administrator. Such a bylaw has been written in other towns for the purpose of defining the position’s power and relationship with Selectmen. 

Vice Chair Randy Parker expressed concern that the bylaw could be used to limit the governing power of the Selectmen, adding that he enjoyed the relationship the board has with Dawson. 

The Selectmen agreed a town administrator bylaw would not be a viable option at the moment but that a thorough job description would simplify the issue. 

A committee made up of seven individuals may be formed to initiate the search for a new town administrator, said Dawson. The committee would include three residents, a department head, a selectman, an existing committee member and a town employee. 

Selectmen also considered the possibility of hiring a recruiter to find a replacement. The potential cost, Dawson said, could range from $5,000 to $10,000 for a recruiter. 

“With a recruiter there’s not going to be a learning curve, it could move faster,” said Clerk John Waterman. “I would lean toward a recruiter, but I think I would still want some type of committee to review the final candidates, so the public feels they’ve had some type of input and ownership in selection.”

The board agreed that they would like to have town residents have a say in their next town administrator. 

Dawson also informed the board that advertising for a new treasurer-collector has started, and one application has already been submitted. The position became vacant after current Treasurer-Collector Gary Carreiro announced his resignation to accept the treasurer-collector position in Dartmouth following 11 years in Marion.

Marion’s Department of Public Works has been operating under Interim Director John Henry since former director Robert Zora retired last December. What was originally supposed to be a six-month stay in the interim position has turned into a nearly 12-month affair for Henry. 

While there is the need for a permanent employee, Selectmen said a new town administrator may want to participate in the selection process. 

Henry suggested to the board that he is willing to serve as the DPW interim director for another year until his replacement is found. 

“John has done a great job filling in on an interim basis,” said Dawson. “But, the whole staff at the DPW has been wondering how this is going to play out. They’ve been operating with an interim person with no certainty and I think they’re looking for that.”