Town Administrator Search Committee Meeting Minutes 11/30/2017

Town of Otis

Town Administrator Search Committee

Meeting Minutes

November 30, 2017


Meeting called to order at 6:47 pm in the Town Hall conference room, is being recorded, and we have a quorum.


Present:           Roberta Sarnacki, George Mengel, Terry Gould, Larry Gould., Gary Thomas



Approve Meeting Minutes:  George Mengel moved to approve the minutes from November 21, 2017 as written, Terry seconded, and the minutes were unanimously approved.


Pre Interview Discussion:  One of the applicants who looked good on paper has been researched and it was determined he had been let go from several of his positions.  His last Town Administrator position only lasted a few months from 2011 to 2012, and his recommendation letters date back from ten years.  Roberta made the decision not to include him in the interview process but will reconsider if anyone can justify including him.


Begin Preliminary Interviews:

The 7:00 pm interview was with Kevin Towle.  Kevin had a great feeling about the town and said it was started on the right path based upon the Master Plan goals and he could help us implement those goals.  He believes in shared services, our biggest assets are our natural resources and our citizens working for what is best for the town.  He sees broadband and job infrastructure and economic development as our biggest challenges.  He would ensure the office has an open door policy, he would be available by cell or email as well, and he believes in minimal tax increases only if necessary with a steady increase in level of services.  He does not believe in establishing policies without input from the involved departments.  He believes the department heads know best but can micromanage if needed.  He would like to work with the Sandisfield Town Administrator and school officials to bring the school up to a Level 1 from a Level 2.  He likes the town’s grass roots vibe, which he noted can be a double-edged sword, but he believes we can work together and move the town in a positive direction.

The 7:30 pm interview was with Susan Carmel who arrived at 7:50 pm.  They began by letting her know they had an 8:00 pm interview.  Berkshire County is her home and our greatest asset is the Reservoir.  Small towns are wonderful to live in.  She has always been available and open to residents and the city counsellors when she worked for Pittsfield.  She is well versed in municipal finance and budgets and always helped everyone within the guidelines of the law.  The committee asked if they could suspend the interview until 8:30 pm and Susan agreed.

The 8:00 pm interview was with Jonathon Williams.  He thinks Otis is one of the Berkshire jewels and is a peaceful place.  He has no agenda on how the town should be run, but feels the town administrator should always be available and he likes to be a collaborator and wants to hear from the residents.  Everyone has equal footing when they come through the door, he would be available by text, email, and phone and tries to respond to inquiries within the hour with at least an acknowledgement.  He believes communication is his most important part of the job.  He has experience with the Green Communities, believes in best practices, and is impressed with Otis’ renewable energies and solar initiative.

At 8:30 pm the Committee continued to interview Susan Carmel.  She believes in working as a team and cross training employees.  During the budget process, she has backed up budget explanations for those who were not able to.  She does not believe in immediate change.  She likes to see what works and get to know the people involved.  She believes in being open to everyone, be available, listen, and keep an open door policy.  She would initiate dialog when necessary.  She has experience reconciling grant monies, not writing the grants themselves.  She asked about the Accounting software system and what do we see as the greatest challenge for the role.  Our response was familiarizing oneself with the people and various projects, but we are a very well oiled machine.


Post interview Discussion:  Discussion ensued regarding each of the three candidates.


Next Meetings:  Everyone was reminded the December 7th meeting would begin at 6:15 pm with interviews beginning at 6:30 pm.



The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 9:00 pm.  Terry made the motion to adjourn and the motion was seconded by George.


Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa D’Orazio

Selectmen’s Secretary

Town of Otis