EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 13, 2013

Push for new solicitor search fails

Interviews for 2 finalists slated for late March

METHUEN — The two remaining finalists for city solicitor will be interviewed in public by the City Council later this month, despite the wishes of three councilors to reopen the search and attract more candidates.

Councilors voted 6-3 last night to proceed with interviews for Richard D’Agostino and William Faraci. The vote capped a 30 minute special meeting that was called after two other finalists — Kerry Anderson and Robin Stein — abruptly dropped out of the running last week.

Council Chairman Sean Fountain said interviewing D’Agostino and Faraci was “the most logical step” moving forward.

“These people have gone through the process,” said Fountain. “They took the time. At least, we should give them the opportunity to interview.”

“Now we’re down to two,” agreed Councilor Michael Condon. “I think the process should continue.”

The search for a new city solicitor was triggered Jan. 7 when councilors voted 5-4 against reappointing Peter McQuillan to a two-year term. McQuillan has served in Methuen’s top legal post since 2005 and will remain on the job until the council names his successor.

Voting in the minority last night and hoping to start the hiring process from scratch were councilors Ron Marsan, Jeanne Pappalardo and Lisa Ferry. All three said the council should choose the city's next solicitor from a field of at least four finalists.

“I’d like to see the process start over,” said Marsan. “I just don’t feel that we’re getting the best for Methuen not having that process served. ... I’d like to see four applicants.”

Pappalardo said the council shouldn’t “settle” on picking from a field of two. She said D’Agostino and Faraci would be welcome to reapply.

“I don’t want to pick from just two people,” said Pappalardo. “I think we should go out for a new search.”

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