On Monday night, the kickoff of the new Town Manager Screening Committee meeting was held. New to Reading Town Hall but not new to Reading, were residents Christopher Messing and Denise Baker, who were chosen by the Select Board to serve on the committee. Joining them were Board members Jackie McCarthy and Mark Dockser along with Town Moderator Alan Foulds, Police Chief David Clark and RPL Director Amy Lannon. Assisting the committee through the process was Bernie Lynch of Community Paradigm Associates LLP, the consultant hired by the town.
After brief introductions, Bernie Lynch opened the floor to nominations for Chair and Secretary of the committee. David Clark nominated Jackie McCarthy as Chair and with no other nominations, Jackie was appointed Chair of the committee. Up next was he nominations for Secretary in which Amy Lannon offered to handle those duties and was elected Secretary.
Bernie Lynch then went over the specifics for the meeting and process, mentioning they received 19 applications from the job posting that went out to multiple sites. Most of the applicants came from fairly close proximity to Reading and he was pleased that the committee has some really good applicants. Lynch’s firm has handled over 100 Town Manager searches since 2015, which included Reading’s back in 2021 that resulted in Fidel Maltez being hired. Reading’s first Town Manager of 26 years, Peter Hechenbleikner, is currently a Senior Associate at Community Paradigm Associates.
The brief 25 minute meeting will be the last the public gets to see as a majority of the rest will be in Executive Session to protect the names of the applicants. The next time the public will be informed of the committee’s progress will be at a potential meeting with the finalists before the full Select Board. Given the timetable and number of applicants, that may be towards the end of February into March 2024. Until then, current Assistant Town Manager Matt Kraunelis who was named Acting Town Manager at the previous Select Board meeting, will be at the helm. Kraunelis takes over on January 1st replacing Fidel Maltez whose last day in Reading as Town Manager is December 31st. Maltez is taking over the City Manager’s position in Chelsea.