GROVELAND — The town has formed a search committee to find its first town manager and plans to hire a consultant to advise and help with the process. 

Former Selectman Joseph D'Amore, chairman of the Town Administrator Search Committee, said the committee's goal is to present three to six finalist candidates to the Select Board between Sept. 17 and 24. The Select Board will then name their choice of a new town manager, he said.

The search committee includes Fire Chief Robert Valentine, Police Chief Jeff Gillen, former town Finance Director Greg Labrecque, Town Clerk Beth Cunniff, Finance Committee Chairwoman Ruth Rivard, Director of Economic Development Planning and Conservation Rebecca Oldham, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Groveland Council on Aging Kathryn Alesse, and Janet Nolan, a retired human resources director from the private sector.

"We want to show the public and potential candidates that we are engaged in a very deliberate and highly professional process," D'Amore said.

D'Amore said the town — under the recommendation of the search committee — plans to hire Community Paradigm Inc. of Plymouth as consultant to assist in the search and ensure compliance with open meeting laws. Paradigm will also craft appropriate questions to ask candidates and while providing guidance on interviews and finding candidates. 

"We've already received about 20 applications and we began reviewing them during the committee's first executive session, which was held Thursday night when we met with the consultant, Bernard Lynch, who agreed to meet with us before being hired," D'Amore said. "I report directly to the Select Board and we will be engaged in weekly meetings until a town administrator is hired." 

The town operates under the supervision of the five-member, volunteer Board of Selectmen, but the May 24 Town Meeting authorized the board to hire a town administrator for day-to-day operations and financial matters.

D'Amore said this marks a significant evolution in Groveland's government, which has operated with a finance director since 1989. 

"For a little town, this is a big deal," he said in reference to having a town administrator and eliminating the town finance director position.

Town Meeting also approved the dissolution of the current finance director system and allows selectmen to reorganize municipal operations around a financial team to be led by the town administrator. 

D'Amore said the town administrator will have a host of responsibilities, including serving as chief procurement officer, chief finance officer, chief compliance officer and personnel manager.

The town administrator will also prepare the annual town operating budget for the Select Board, will prepare Town Meeting articles for the Select Board, will represent the Select Board in negotiations, where appropriate, and advise the Select Board and town departments on grant opportunities.

The town's last finance director, Denise Dembkoski, left her position last year to become town administrator for Stow, Massachusetts.

The town has since been functioning with the Select Board working in conjunction with Finance Department employees Ellen Petrillo, Michele Beegan and Katheryn Worden.  

The position of town administrator was posted as offering an annual salary range of $90,000 to $120,000, depending on qualifications. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, D'Amore said. 

Reporter Jim Sullivan contributed to this report

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