A previously closed-door meeting scheduled for the town manager search committee is expected to accept public comment this week, according to Rockport Select Board Chairman William Chapman.

The committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, March 27 at Rockport Opera House at 7 p.m.

Initial meetings forming the committee took place in executive session, a forum in which the public is not allowed. Chapman said formation of the committee took place in executive session in error.

"For that I am sorry, but we thought, based on the initial guidance and our reading of both the state statutes and the town charter, we were correct to classify that as an executive session," he said in an email.

Certain aspects of the town manager search committee meetings will still take place in executive session, Chapman said.

"…development of the rating scheme and questionnaire: these need to be in executive session because of the unfair advantage one candidate might gain by knowing the questions that will be asked and how much weight the committee will be giving to the questions in relation to the answers provided. Keep in mind that the questionnaire that will be sent out will require written answers, something that can be 'gamed' by re-working and re-working and having others read and re-work the answer before submission. That would present a completely different picture of the applicant and possibly elevate him/her over others who are more qualified but didn't have the advantage of the knowledge of the ranking scheme," Chapman wrote.

The town manager search committee was chosen during a regular meeting March 11.

Select board members designated Will Gartley, Kim Graffam, Peter Hall, Tom Cox, Kathleen Meil, Jan Rosenbaum and Betsy Saltonstall as members of the committee. Select board member Tracy Lee Murphy is the town liaison to the committee.

The committee was formed following the resignation of Robert Peabody Jr. in February, which came after a series of closed-door meetings to discuss personnel complaints. Interim Town Manager Roger Moody was chosen at the end of February by the select board to carry on town business until a permanent town manager is hired.

Courier Publications Associate Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at sgrinnell@courierpublicationsllc.com.