Selectmen Revisit Town Administrator's Dismissal, Discuss Search Committee
The Milton Board of Selectmen recently discussed the handling of Town Administrator Kevin Mearn's contract and considered options to find his replacement.
The Milton Board of Selectmen are moving forward on selecting a new Town Administrator after a 2-1 vote to remove Kevin Mearn in a public meeting on July 30.
Before the Selectmen discussed the options for a search committee at their meeting on August 9, Chair Tom Hurley brought up the manner of Mearn’s dismissal.
Hurley, the lone vote in favor of renewing the five-year Town Administrator’s contract, read a statement on the situation. Hurley’s fellow members of the board, Denis Keohane and Bob Sweeney voted not to renew Mearn’s contract, citing communication issues with several individuals including Police Chief Richard Wells Jr. in a closed-door meeting on July 18. The 2-1 vote for Mearn’s removal was repeated on August 2, after Mearn continued to show up for work.
Hurley called the manner of Mearn’s termination a “crucifixion of someone, who committed no crime.”
Hurley said the situation could have been handled with more dignity while taking responsibility as chairman for not better controlling some of the meetings.
Sweeney responded by reiterating he told Mearn he was considering not renewing his contract before any votes were taken in the hope the Town Administrator would willingly retire.
He also shared displeasure at the fact Mearn kept working after the vote not to extend his already expired contract was taken.
“I was dismayed after a vote was taken that the Town Administrator was back in his office the next day,” Sweeney said.
During his remarks, Sweeney turned to the audience at Town Hall and said he has a list of reasons why he did not support renewing the contract that he didn’t feel needed to be made public.
“There are many justifiable reasons why I took the position I did,” Sweeney said.
Keohane declined to address Hurley’s statement.
“I do have a response, but not right now,” Keohane said, adding it was unfair of Hurley to bring up the decision without listing it on the agenda.
Following the discussion of on the past Town Administrator, the Selectmen turned their attention to his replacement.
Sweeney proposed two possible directions for the search, including appointing a local committee or hiring a consultant.
While no vote was taken last week, the Selectmen are considering a combination of using a primarily Milton-based search committee and a professional recruiter to assist with screening.
The Selectmen agreed the search committee should consist of somewhere between five and seven members. Hurley said he would like to see that committee made of Milton residents, some management professionals and a town administrator or manager from another municipality.
Keohane proposed each Selectmen recommend two committee members. Hurley suggested that those recommendations be added to the pool of residents who have already shown interest in the committee.
As of the time of the meeting, six people expressed interest in sitting on the committee, Interim Town Administrator Annmarie Fagan told the Selectmen. Interested residents can submit their name for consideration to Fagan at email@example.com.
The Selectmen will finalize the search plans at their next meeting on Thursday, August 23, at 6:30 p.m. In the meantime, the Selectmen requested Town Administrator job descriptions from other towns and recommendations on consultants.
How do you think the Selectmen should handle the search for a new Town Administrator? Tell us in the comments.