MMA hired for N. Yarmouth's top job search

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen took initial steps Tuesday toward hiring a new administrative assistant, retaining the Maine Municipal Association to open a search for candidates.

Selectmen also set a meeting for Monday, April 13, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., to assess and discuss what the town needs in a new administrator. The meeting will be open to the public, but public comment will not be allowed.

Two weeks ago, the Board of Selectmen opted not to renew Administrative Assistant Scott Tilton’s contract, letting him go after two years as administrator. Tilton in 2007 replaced Scott Seaver, who served the town for 26 years. Seaver was later hired as town administrator on Chebeague Island.

Selectmen said Tilton was let go because of mutual feelings that his “management style” was not a good fit with what the town needs. Tilton said at the time that he has no plans for after his contract expires on June 30, but that he hopes to find another job in municipal government.

David Barrett, director of personnel services and labor relations for the Maine Municipal Association, attended Tuesday’s meeting and will work with the town over the next several months as selectmen set priorities and narrow candidates. Barrett was asked to prepare a job listing and post it “everywhere shy of the Portland Press Herald,” Selectmen Rob Wood said, including Internet employment sites.

MMA will perform the job search under the board’s guidance, at a cost of $5,400. That includes $900 for advertising and $4,500 to the MMA.

Selectmen will review and approve the administrator’s job description at their next regular meeting. Next Monday they will meet to perform a needs assessment to establish a short list of the most important qualities to look for in their next administrator.

Selectmen were also asked to prepare their own “top five requirements” for a new administrator. Most chose to compile their lists later this week, but Selectmen Candy Burgess had hers ready Monday:

•  Being interested in development and studying the possibility of bringing affordable senior housing to town.

•  Having strong financial knowledge and skills.

•  Living within the surrounding towns.

•  Having strong computer skills.

•  Having strong people skills.

Though not much discussion was not heard Tuesday, there seemed to be general agreement among selectmen that the next administrator should live close by. Tilton lives in Scarborough. Further discussion will occur Monday in Town Hall.

In other business this week, Selectmen asked Tilton to seek bids on one winter plowing/sanding route. While some selectmen were hesitant to outsource a job currently done by the town, several, including Selectman Mark Verrill, said they hope to avoid the purchase of a new plow.

“We need to send out a message that we can put our conservative hats on sometimes,” Verrill said, hoping to get at least one more year out of a 1995 Ford plow truck.

Funds have already been designated within the town’s capital improvement fund, and replacement of the truck is recommended both under the town’s Capital Improvement Plan and by public works Director Clark Baston.

Former Selectman Jim Moulton, commenting from the audience, said he was not impressed by the board’s move to “ram-rod through” a decision to get rid of a local employee without documented savings. “It doesn’t look like you did your homework,” he said.

Moulton said he is afraid of the slippery slope that comes with outsourcing town jobs. “When the next truck needs to be replaced, will you privatize that too?” he asked.

Moulton said he is also concerned about the selectmen’s process Tuesday. He was the only person who offered public comment, and was not allowed to speak until after selectmen voted 4-1, with Verrill opposed, to seek the bids.

Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or