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Belmont revises town administrator position

By Evan Allen
Globe Correspondent / January 15, 2012
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Belmont selectmen voted Monday night to approve a new job description for the now-vacant town administrator position that gives it a little more heft, at least semantically.

The revised version defines the town administrator as the “chief administrative officer for the town.’’ Before last week, the job description provided a list of duties but did not, according to Belmont’s interim town administrator, Richard Kelliher, formally define it as the top municipal position.

“It doesn’t invest more formal power, but it creates heightened expectations,’’ said Kelliher.

Ralph Jones, the Board of Selectmen’s chairman, said the new language would be important in attracting a wide range of highly qualified applicants for the town administrator position, which the board has been trying to fill since the Oct. 31 resignation of Thomas Younger.

The selectmen are also in the market for an interim town administrator, following Kelliher’s decision to step down from the part-time position as of Jan. 23. Kelliher, who had retired as Brookline’s town administrator in 2010, announced his resignation last month, saying the Belmont role was demanding more time than he could give.

Selectman Angelo Firenze said the new job description also includes more emphasis on “strategic planning.’’

“That’s a major change from where the job had been,’’ Firenze said. “It’s not just the job that had been done, it’s the job that we feel needs to be done.’’

The other big change to the town administrator’s position is a recommended raise in salary. The suggested annual salary range is now $140,000 to $160,000, compared with $125,000 to $145,000 previously.

When Younger left Belmont, his annual salary was $145,000, according to Diane Crimmins, Belmont’s human resources director. The suggested range is not binding, said Jones, but it will help attract high-quality applicants.

The selectmen also voted to create a screening committee to help the board in its search for candidates for the permanent position.

Evan Allen can be reached at evannn524@gmail.com.

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