EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 21, 2013

Salem town manager accused of illegally awarding contract

(Continued)

The town manager said it was permissible as long as Mark Savastano and his firm were licensed and insured. Hickey said to an avoid an appearance of impropriety, he asked the bids be submitted directly to him.

When the Savastanos showed up at the meeting with their lawyer Chris Savastano, Selectman Patrick Hargreaves asked that the discussion be tabled until the town’s attorney could be present. The board decided to continue the discussion.

Hargreaves, a locksmith, said he was also accused of impropriety and did nothing more than sell a lock to RAM.

“I heard my name being thrown around last week,” he said. “At no time did my company step foot in this building to install anything.”

Selectman Stephen Campbell said he wished Hickey informed them of the bid waiver earlier. Selectmen Chairman Everett McBride Jr. said although there could have been better communication, he didn’t find fault with what Hickey did.

“I don’t think anything inappropriately was done,” McBride said.

Selectman Michael Lyons agreed.

“I think we should stand by him,” he said.

Selectman James Keller said he didn’t think any further action by the board was needed.

Also last night, selectmen voted 4-1 to begin the search for an assistant town manager. Campbell voted in opposition, concerned the town would be paying too much to fill the position.

The individual would fill the position being vacated by Community Development Director William Scott, who accepted a similar position in Amesbury, Mass. Scott is leaving June 24 after 12 years on the job.

The assistant town manager — a newly-created position — would lead the community development staff and supervise some town departments, Hickey said. The salary range would be between $80,000 and $93,000.

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