By Alex Bloom
NORTH ANDOVER — Incoming Town Manager Andrew Maylor said he's already impressed with the town of North Andover, a few weeks ahead of his first official day.
"It's exactly what I had hoped for in terms of the kind of position and the kind of community I wanted to work in," Maylor said.
Maylor attended Tuesday's Special Town Meeting, sitting next to interim Town Manager Jim Purcell, and appreciated getting to know the town processes and functions.
The Board of Selectmen picked Maylor as the next town manager out of a field of more than 60 candidates, and he will take over on Dec. 16. Maylor and the Board of Selectmen signed five-year contract in October, paying him a salary of $145,000 per year.
Maylor talked Thursday about some of the issues he sees facing the town of about 28,000 people. Tackling potential budget shortfalls and managing the town's finances will be important upon his arrival, he said.
"Looking at the finances will be this, and every subsequent, year one of the primary issues we have to address," Maylor said, mentioning budget problems are common across all Bay State communities.
The town is also considering a new facilities management plan, deciding among other things what to do with the former Bradstreet School and the former police station, both vacant. Maylor said he's excited to jump in and comment on a plan that will have long-lasting effects for the town's future.
Maylor, 49, of Lynnfield, has spent the last nine years as the Swampscott town administrator. Maylor was previously Chelsea's deputy city manager, and also worked as Winthrop's town accountant during his 18 years in municipal government.
Maylor also announced last month that he will step down from his position with the Essex Regional Retirement System. Maylor is the chairman of the organization's board of directors.
"It's been extremely professionally fulfilling but clearly the post in North Andover from my perspective is that much more important, so it's a sacrifice I had to make," Maylor said.
He said he will spend his first few weeks in the town meeting and talking to residents, staff members and businesses to understand town issues.
"The more people I can meet with and understand what they think is important to the town, the better off I'll be in working toward long-term goals," Maylor said.
Maylor said that when he takes over, he wants residents to reach out to him and contact him on all town issues and said that he intends to be personally involved in the community.
"I encourage folks to communicate with me on whatever the topic is," Maylor said.
He said he's doing a lot of reading in advance, requesting town financial information, collective bargaining agreements, and other town documents to make sure he's prepared for day one.
"The more information I can digest in advance of me starting, the more relevant my questions will be once I get there," Maylor said.
Purcell leaving soon
Purcell's last day is Dec. 1, and Assistant Town Manager Ray Santilli will handle the interim.
Purcell, 57, took over June 30 when former Town Manager Mark Rees left to take the city manager position in Portland, Maine. Purcell, the retired former town manager of Norton, has been limited to working 24 hours per week, according to his contract.
The board picked Purcell after working with the Boston-based Collins Center for Public Management at UMass-Boston. Purcell works on behalf of the center, and is in talks to next manage the town of Sherborn.
Purcell lauded the town's department heads and the collegiality of the Selectmen and different boards.
"I can tell you that North Andover has a very good governance model and I think some real star players in it," Purcell said.
Town Accountant Lyne Savage estimated that North Andover will pay Purcell $31,317 for his service in the town.
Selectman Tracy Watson, the board chair, praised Purcell for his professionalism, expertise and easy nature.
"He really made this transition time easy for everybody," Watson said. "There was no panic."
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