SALEM — Town Manager Keith Hickey’s future with the town likely will be a topic of discussion for selectmen soon.
It’s unclear whether the conversations will be public or behind closed doors, though.
Hickey, 49, is a finalist for town manager in Dracut.
Word got out during the Dracut selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night, when the town announced three finalists. Hickey was one.
“No comment,” was the repeated response from the Salem selectmen’s chairman, Everett McBride Jr., yesterday concerning the Hickey situation.
McBride would not discuss Hickey specifically or what procedure selectmen might follow if a search for a replacement is needed.
Selectmen could confer Monday, their next scheduled meeting date.
“No comment,” also was the response yesterday from Selectman Stephen Campbell, who at times has clashed with Hickey over a perceived failure to keep selectmen informed.
Campbell didn’t want to speculate what path the board might take if Hickey is offered and accepts the $135,000 a year job in Dracut.
“The board hasn’t discussed anything,” Campbell said.
Typically personnel matters are discussed in non-public session, he said.
In this case, Hickey is just a finalist for the job in Dracut. He hasn’t received an offer or decided to leave.
Dracut Selectman Anthony Archinski said Hickey was among three finalists unanimously recommended for the board’s consideration by a five-member search committee.
Dracut selectmen plan to discuss their next step when they meet Tuesday.
Archinski said the last time the job was open, finalists came before the board in meetings the public could attend. “It definitely was an open process,” he said.
Archinski anticipates it will take at least a couple of weeks before Dracut selectmen are prepared to make someone an offer.
Hickey did not immediately return a phone call.
The development with the manager’s job comes less than two weeks before the town election.
Campbell and Selectman Michael Lyons are up for reelection. They are being challenged by Michael Petrilli Sr.
The last time the manager’s job was opened, the town used an interim manager. Former school Superintendent Henry LaBranche occupied the manager’s chair.
Hickey was hired in Salem in December 2010. “I’m looking to stay here,” Hickey said then.
In 2012, Hickey was given a new three-year contract and a 2 percent raise by selectmen, boosting his pay from $128,000 to $130,560 a year.
He previously was town manager in Merrimack and Bedford in New Hampshire.