Camden Herald Letters to the Editor April 11

Apr 11, 2019

Rockport Town Manager Search Committee report

Dear fellow citizens of Rockport,

Your town manager search committee is making good progress as we work toward identifying our next town manager. The committee has been following the charter’s instructions on selecting a town manager like a road map. We are now midway through the process and thought this a good time to give you an update on our work.

The charter’s instructions are clear. The search committee is to review all applications and from that review give the select board a list of semi-finalists. The select board can add to that list from the pool of applicants. The committee is then tasked with writing questions the semi-finalists will answer, also in writing. From these responses the committee will create a list of not more than five finalists. Understanding the written responses may provoke additional questions, the select board has agreed to allow the committee to conduct follow-up interviews via Skype.

Once the committee has given the select board its list, the select board can add up to two applicants from the semi-finalists to the list of finalists. Once the finalists have been selected, the committee’s work will be done. The select board will then continue the process by interviewing all of the finalists and then offer the position to one of them.

The committee has met six times since it was formed. Here’s what has gone on so far:

Select board liaison to the search committee, Jeff Hamilton, compiled a binder with information intended to help the committee do its job. The information in the binder contained such items as the town charter, “do and don'ts” for conducting interviews, and the town manager job description. We reviewed the binder’s contents with Jeff and then elected Maggie Timmermann as our chairman and Julie Clement as vice chairman. Maggie then led us in a discussion of how we would conduct our work and when we would meet.

Our first task was to create a list of questions that semi-finalists would respond to in writing. The binder Jeff prepared included sample questions. We discussed and debated what we wanted to achieve via the questions, and then decided to include townspeople in the process and held a public meeting where we asked people to tell us what attributes and qualification’s they wanted our next town manager to possess.

The committee worked on writing the questions during the next three meetings, using the binder’s sample questions, Rockport’s previous town manager search questions, input received at the public meeting and original questions written by committee members.

Once the March 22 application deadline passed, each Committee member was given a binder with every application, resume and cover letter arranged and indexed alphabetically. We had a few days to review the applications on our own before getting together to review and decide as a group.

That meeting was held Wednesday, March 27. We have now submitted a list of semi- finalists to the select board. As is instructed by the charter, they reviewed the list and our questions to be asked of the semi-finalists, and discussed both in executive session at their April 8 meeting.

Once the list of semi- finalists and questions are confirmed, the questions will be sent to the semi-finalists. Once we have the responses in hand, the committee will meet again to discuss them and decide who we would like to have follow-up Skype interviews with. The select board will attend these interviews as observers, not active participants.

We anticipate making our finalist recommendations to the select board on May 2. Then it’s up to the select board to schedule and conduct interviews and offer the job to the best qualified candidate.

We thank you for your trust.

Maggie Timmermann, chair

Rockport Town Manager Search Committee

 

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