By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — New Assistant Town Manager Leon Goodwin III has been named the town’s chief building official, following the retirement of Sam Zannini in December.
Goodwin, also the town’s community affairs director, was appointed chief building official by Town Manager Keith Hickey. He officially began work in Salem on Oct. 1.
Hickey had been handling the position’s duties until the appointment was unanimously approved by selectmen Monday night. Hickey joked at the board’s meeting that he didn’t mind turning those duties over to Goodwin.
Goodwin, who oversees several departments, will handle various administrative duties as chief building official, Hickey said. The position is mandated by town ordinance, he said.
Goodwin also supervises the Planning, Zoning, Health, Inspections, Recreation, Community Development and Human Services departments.
Hickey has said Goodwin, a former assistant city attorney in Keene, was hired from among approximately 40 candidates because he had extensive experience dealing with zoning, planning and code enforcement issues.
Goodwin has adapted well in his first month on the job, Hickey said yesterday, freeing up the town manager for other tasks.
“He’s doing great,” Hickey said. “There have been some issues that he’s been able to handle with the departments. It’s allowed me to focus on other issues.”
Goodwin is Salem’s first assistant town manager. He was out of the office yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
He has said he’s looking forward to promoting the redevelopment of Salem.
“There are a million opportunities in Salem, from the redevelopment of Rockingham Park to revitalization of the downtown area,” he said.
Goodwin, 31, who earns $94,000 a year, took over many of job responsibilities performed by former Community Development Director William Scott. He left in June to serve as the deputy community development director in Amesbury.
Zannini had held the chief building official position for many years during his 36-year tenure at Town Hall. He also served as health officer, code enforcement officer, plumbing inspector and head of the Building Department.
Zannini retired in December at age 66 after his position was eliminated to save money. Zannini, who earned $77,537 in 2012, received a $42,000 severance payment from the town.