Saturday, March 15, 2014

Looking for Mr. Good-manager

Here we are, back on the beat after a week in points slightly to the south, that being two destinations in New Jersey.  The land of full service gas stations.  By law.


While there to reset our main springs to the overwound position, we came across the agenda packet for this coming Monday’s (March 17, 2014) special council meeting to discuss the search for a new town manager.


You can find the packet here:

Three consultants will be interviewed by town councilors to select one to engage for a paid contract to help them find a new Mr. Manager.

As we see it, two of those consulting candidates – The Maine Municipal Association, and Eaton-Peabody (in the person of former Brunswick Town Manager Don Gerrish) – are tainted by a lack of objectivity.  When it comes to guiding councilors seeking ‘a new direction’ in selecting a new official who will have the highest possibility of a long and successful tenure here in the richest little town in America, we’re just not buying their story.  Used car salesmen come to mind.


Both will no doubt claim they are “all about process, not about individuals.”  Yah, shurrr.  So they’ve got their butts covered.  If we pick a loser, it will because we chose the wrong candidate, not because of their ‘process advice.’

The MMA is probably the leading expert in protecting the interests of failed and sub-standard town managers, and Gerrish brought us the recently departed Mr. Manager.  On that basis alone, they are highly suspect.

While we know Art Boulay personally, we have no professional knowledge of his process and methods, other than to say they don’t carry the same taint as the two mentioned above.

The memo to the council on the subject from the town’s H.R. Manager, Jessica Factor, says she has “prepared questions for your use with each consultant.”  Unfortunately, we could not find those questions anywhere in the packet.


So we have decided to offer a few questions of our own for councilors to use in their interviews with the three consultants.  As you’ve come to expect, we aren’t mincing words.  So here they are:

1)  How will you ensure that we don’t hire someone else’s failed administrator?

2)  How will you ensure that we know the truth, and the whole truth, about each candidate’s career record, including the details of any termination or other problems during their tenure(s) elsewhere?

3)  How will you ensure that we know specifically and truthfully why any candidate who is currently unemployed is in that situation?

4)  How will you ensure that we have a thorough understanding of any candidate’s ability to effectively and robustly manage capital projects, such as construction of new buildings, and renovations of existing buildings?  And to engage in the purchase of or trade for existing properties?

5)  How will you determine that a candidate has a grasp on long range planning and property tax rate growth?

That’s just for starters; feel free to submit your own to us via comments.  We’ll probably include them all in a memo to the council.



  1. "Would you be willing to accept a contract that offers zero severance pay?" I don't mind making contributions to a retirement account for somebody that is doing an adequate job and wants to stick around, but offering a candidate six months severance does not serve the Town's interests in any way, shape, or form.

  2. This one should be easy since they are not looking for a good manager but a compliant one.