Town Manager interviews concluded

Council doing due diligence
Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:00am

The New Shoreham Town Council is getting closer to hiring a new Town Manager, having completed a third round of interviews with five finalists.

The hiring process that began in late March attracted 53 candidates before the list was narrowed to five in early July.

Weather played a part in postponing Wednesday’s Town Council meeting and discussion on the topic, which was rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

First Warden Ken Lacoste told The Block Island Times that while a candidate has not been selected, the Town Council is “doing background checks, checking references and trying to come to a decision regarding the selection of a candidate. We’re working through it. I would hope that we have a new Town Manager in office as soon as possible,” he said.

Lacoste said that since the candidates requested confidentiality throughout the town manager search process, the names of the candidates have not been revealed to the public. 

“Once a candidate is selected, a contract will be negotiated, then the individual might have to notify their current employer and will need to work out the logistics of the relocation to the island,” he said

“I am not anticipating a problem with contract negotiation. The Town Council is determined to assist the new Town Manager in their search for appropriate housing.”

The lack of housing on Block Island presents challenges for new hires moving to the island.

As for how the overall search has gone, Lacoste said, “Everyone involved in the process has worked very hard to provide the best candidates for the Council, for the town and for the island. The caliber of the candidates has been very high, reflecting on a great job done by the search committees.”

There were two panels appointed to advise the Town Council during the search process. Those two committees are a five-member town employee committee and a seven-member public committee. The committees conducted the first two rounds of interviews with a selected pool of candidates, gave the five finalists a tour of the island, and then recommended those finalists to the Town Council.

“The candidates presented to us came with a wealth of experience, are well respected in their current or previous positions, and were just nice folks,” noted Lacoste. “I know it seems like it has taken forever to get this done but I believe the result of our due diligence will be well worth it.”

The Council had targeted Labor Day for having a new Town Manager in office, but Lacoste said summer work schedules for Council members and candidate availability played a role in delaying the process. Shirlyne Gobern, former Town Manager Nancy Dodge’s assistant, has been serving as the interim Town Manager since February.