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Hanover town manager search comes down to three finalists

By Michele Morgan Bolton
Globe Correspondent / February 26, 2012
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The Hanover Board of Selectmen has named three finalists in its search for a new town manager, all administrators in Eastern Massachusetts towns.

The candidates are Bridgewater Town Manager Troy Clarkson, Bourne Town Administrator Thomas Guerino, and interim Ipswich Town Manager Thomas Younger, who was Belmont’s town administrator until last month.

The three were chosen from a pool of applicants reviewed by executive headhunter Richard Kobayashi of the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Kobayashi was hired by selectmen to lead the search and screen candidates for the post, which will pay about $130,000 a year.

Guerino has held his Bourne position since 2005, while Clarkson has served Bridgewater since 2010. Most recently, Clarkson was up for a similar job in Kingston, but in September he asked to be removed from consideration. Younger took on the temporary job in Ipswich in January, agreeing to stay on for a few months until a permanent hire is made.

Hanover selectmen have specified that the new town manager have “the skill, energy, creativity, and experience to achieve Hanover’s goals, including preserving public service levels and maintaining the town’s positive civic attitude toward the future.’’

The successful candidate will take over for Steve Rollins, the longtime town administrator who was named Hanover’s first town manager last year. Residents approved the Town Manager Act in 2010 and with it a streamlined form of government.

Rollins, who had been the town’s administrator since 1987, is retiring when his contract ends in June. Since becoming manager, he has centralized town departments into a handful of functions including municipal finance, public works, community services, police, and fire.

The town also increased its three-member Board of Selectmen to five under the act.

Sixty-nine of the state’s 351 communities have adopted the town manager form of government, according to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, including, in this area, Abington, Bridgewater, Cohasset, Duxbury, Foxborough, Hull, Mansfield, Middleborough, Plymouth, Norton, and Stoughton.

In his application, Clarkson stressed his work in bringing Bridgewater back from the brink of insolvency. He said he reduced the free cash deficit and begin fixing the town’s infrastructure while restoring public safety to levels “that the public needs and deserves, all during a time of great tumult and transition.’’

Among Guerino’s skills, according to his application, are “negotiating, administrative, public budget presentation and preparation, wage and classification preparation, preparation of policy and administrative documents, staff oversight, annualized goal, benchmark/work plans, Town Meeting preparation, and other varied abilities that are utilized in an ever-changing public environment.’’

Younger’s letter to Kobayashi stressed his experience. “With 30 years of municipal and state experience in government as well as being the chief executive officer in four communities [Belmont, North Reading, Norton, and Oak Bluffs], I believe this gives me the ability to grasp the opportunity to work with the Board of Selectmen and department heads of this fine community as town manager,’’ Younger wrote.

Selectmen conducted public interviews with Clarkson and Younger last week and have an interview scheduled with Guerino tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in the first-floor meeting room at Town Hall, 550 Hanover St.

Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at michelebolton@live.com.

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