Hingham’s town administrator will receive a $15,000 bonus this year after being given a stellar first-year review.
Ted Alexiades took over for Town Administrator Kevin Paicos, who now is town manager of Foxborough.
Having worked as the chief financial officer for the town for several years, Alexiades quickly stepped into the new role as town administrator, and has since performed very well, said Selectman Bruce Rabuffo.
“When you think we were in a bit of turmoil when the last town administrator left and there was someone stepping up to the plate who had never been a town administrator. Coupled with the fact that the role he has to play means open meeting law, which means no one can talk to one another,” Rabuffo said.
“But he did not shy away from difficult issues. The health insurance issue that I know was difficult, finding money to help us manage through the last few years, deciding what we can reduce and what we can spend, and supervising the staff [was also challenging].”
According to Alexiades's contract, he is eligible to receive up to $15,000 in bonus pay at the time of his review, depending on his performance. The amount he receives is left entirely up to the selectmen's discretion.
The town administrator is the only position in Hingham that can earn a merit-based bonus.
According to Rabuffo, the bonus puts Alexiades’s $147,000 base salary on par with other communities, where the base pay for a town administrator is higher.
“His base pay is not for the town of our size. If you look at the town administrators in neighboring towns, they make considerably more. It’s to get him up there comparable to his peers, but he has to earn it,” Rabuffo said.
The bonus will come from a reserve fund transfer that has to be approved by the Advisory Committee.
Although it will only slightly reduce the savings in that fund, Rabuffo said the savings wouldn’t be there at all if it weren’t for Alexiades.
“We didn’t just get that savings cause we guessed right. We had to work at generating it and Ted helped us do that,” he said.
Others in the town agreed. During his annual review, broadcast live during a selectmen’s meeting, all those that worked with the manager – including five department heads, and the chairman of the Advisory Committee - evaluated him highly in categories such as leadership, planning, developing, and organization.
The only critique is that Alexiades was not as readily available as people would like, although he always gets to questions eventually.
However, it’s no surprise that Alexiades doesn’t have much free time. Not only has he taken on more responsibilities of the day-to-day running of the town, he has also worked to get his masters, Rabuffo said.
Overall, “I’m very happy we found him, and more importantly that people I talk to in the town are too,” Rabuffo said.
Alexiades said he wasn't surprised that he relieved positive reviews, but was overwhelmed by the extremely positive response of everyone he works with.
“I do think I am doing a good job, and when you work, you know whether you are doing a good job, wherever you are,” Alexiades said. “A good personnel system, which we have here, lends itself to that. I wasn’t shocked, but I was taken aback by the glowing response from my colleagues, and I’m very appreciative of it.”
For Alexiades, the most challenging aspect in the last year has been bringing two sides of an issue, together to common ground, whether it’s negotiations or personnel discussions.
Yet his mantra for success has helped carry him through.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I think I’ve folded that into a strong sense of humility and part of my care-giving philosophy. I want to take care of people, whether they are employees at any level, or citizens,” Alexiades said.
Alexiades doesn’t expect there to be controversy about the bonus, especially because of how the payment system is set up for his role.
“The pay structure this Board of Selectmen wanted with their town administrator is a great model. If I were a selectmen, I would want it for my town administrator,” Alexiades said. “It’s a bonus but it’s the last part of my compensation. …
"I was willing to sign that agreement because I have confidence in myself and in selectmen to be fair. I think its [good] to manage your performance through compensation. People on all sides of this issue should be pleased,” he said.