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Younger Gets Nod for Administrator Job

Tension built this morning as selectmen gave their reasons for their choice for the new town administrator. Ultimately, the board selected Belmont resident and Ipswich Interim Town Manager Thomas Younger .

 

The selectmen's chairman tipped the balance in favor of Thomas Younger today, Wednesday, when selecting a new town administrator at a 7 am meeting at .

Chairman Matt Strauss said Younger's depth and breadth of experience was the deciding factor in his choice for the second town administrator in Swampscott's history.

Up until that point in the meeting, board members Jill Sullivan and Barry Greenfield had indicated their support for Younger, and selectmen David Van Dam and Rich Malagrifa had indicated support for Gerard Perry of Swampscott.

Sullivan said she was impressed with Younger's communication skills, his people and managerial skills and his commitment to transparency.

She said he has also worked on town revitalization plans, such as the one the town wants to undertake for Humphrey Street.

"He has done all things and he had done (them) successfully for eighteen years," she said.

Greenfield said he used a scorecard to evaluate the three candidates.

In the end, he decided that Younger was the best candidate to take the town into the future.

He said Younger will forge better relationships with neighboring towns and state officials and be committed to transparency in government.

A week ago, during the public interview phase, Greenfield asked a very tough question to Younger.

He asked him why he had not been able to close the deal on a number of other positions for which he had been a finalist? Why hadn't other towns hired him?

Younger did not get defensive. He said it was a fair question and one he had thought about.

He explained in some detail how he was not what the towns were looking for in a candidate.

Younger was, however, the candidate with the qualities that a majority of the Swampscott board preferred.

To display unified support for Younger they voted unanimously to select him for the post.

In his interview with selectmen last week, Younger stressed his track record of being fully involved in his job over the past 30 years.

He recalled his successes, including six balanced budgets without overrides in six years in Belmont, road and sidewalk infrastructure improvements at each stop and establishing longterm capital and financial planning.

He also recounted failed efforts at regionalization and did not promise to pull a rabbit out of his hat when asked if he had any special ideas for getting additional Chapter 70 funding for the town.

Younger did say he would be fully engaged in the process whether that meant pressing legislators for funding, staying extra hours to talk to residents, going to town events or dealing in good faith on collective bargaining agreements.

The president of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association is now the interim town manager in Ipswich and previously was the town administrator in Belmont and North Reading.

He told selectmen that it is his practice to keep selectmen informed about issues, initiatives and media inquiries and to meet with department heads the morning after each selectmen's meeting to relay the board's discussions.

"I'm an activist manager," he said.

He also said he was an community advocate.

"It is very important to be the face of the Board of Selectmen and the face of the town," he said.

Before he becomes the new administrator, Younger will need to agree to a contract and give the town of Ipswich notice that he is accepting the Swampscott job.

The Town Administrator Search Committee culled the candidates from their review of applicants. 

The Swampscott position will pay between $113,000 and $130,000.

Dave Castellarin, Swampscott's assistant town administrator, is the acting administrator.

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