Search team names candidates for town admin post

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Canton’s Town Administrator Search Committee released its top four candidates on Tuesday night and they include two Massachusetts town executives as well as administrators from Portland, Maine, and a suburb of Chicago.

Selectmen will now interview each of the following candidates in public session in the coming weeks: Greg Enos, assistant town administrator of Whitman; Kimberly Newman, Mendon town administrator; Mark Reese, city manager of Portland, Maine; and Roy Witherow, assistant village manager of Lake Zurich, Illinois. The new town administrator will replace Bill Friel, who plans to retire in January.

The search committee included Steve Cesso, U.S. general counsel for Computershare and board member of the Canton Association of Business and Industry; Jody Middleton, town human resources director; Selectmen Chairman John Connolly and Selectman Bob Burr; School Committee member Mike Loughran; and resident Steve Colson.

Cesso said 13 applicants met the town’s minimum standards and through interviews and thorough research, the committee narrowed the list down to four. He summarized the applicants as two seasoned professionals and two who are serving in smaller towns and “looking to step up.”

“All four have strong attributes,” said Middleton.

Cesso said the search committee is not rating the four candidates and it will be up to the selectmen to interview each one and make a selection. “Each one is qualified and brings experience to the job,” he said.

The other major piece of news Tuesday night focused on the failure of the town’s insurance provider to submit a complete report on the damage estimates for the Metropolis Skating Rink, which was substantially damaged by a roof collapse in late February.

Both Town Administrator Bill Friel and Connolly expressed their frustration with the report. “I can’t understand why we were told the report was coming October 9, and here it is November 6 and it is incomplete,” Connolly said. “The insurance company is holding us hostage,” said Connolly.

The insurance agency’s report is the first critical piece of information in determining whether to rebuild or renovate the rink.

A visibly upset Connolly said he has heard that the state Department of Conservation and Recreation is faulting Canton for holding up the rink renovation. “The DCR is throwing us under the bus,” he said. “We don’t even own the building; they do.”

Connolly said he personally believes the entire structure should be torn down and rebuilt. “Let’s do it right and do it as soon as possible,” he said.

Both Connolly and Friel stressed that town officials have sent all requested reports and information to insurance investigators as well as state and federal agencies. “The insurance company is holding us hostage,” said Connolly.

Canton Youth Hockey President Nick Maffeo said the organization is finding rinks in surrounding towns to accommodate all 515 youth hockey players; however, he said it is a costly and frustrating process. For the upcoming season, players and their parents will travel to rinks in Quincy, Brockton, Dedham, and Needham. “Our board is getting this done,” Maffeo said. “We are creative in our financing, but it is so important to get our kids back to Canton. It is very stressful for everyone …

See this week’s Canton Citizen for more highlights from the November 10 selectmen’s meeting. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today.

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