PEPPERELL -- Andrew Scribner-MacLean is getting comfortable in his new seat as town administrator. He was recently hired by the town and signed a four-year contract, with an annual salary of $120,000, that expires on June 30, 2021, the original termination date of previous administrator Mark Andrews's contract.
In a search that began in mid-August, Scribner-MacLean, 54 and a father of two, surpassed two other finalists thanks in large part to his experience as acting town administrator for Maynard, as well as nearly two decades of various executive roles within the University of Massachusetts system.
He said he is aware of several controversy and infighting in town. "A lot of the the turmoil is due to the turnover in management," he said. "I want to get a handle on it to find out what's happening. It is fixable."
He hopes also to bring limited and selective economic development to generate commerce and revenue while maintaining the town's bucolic identity. "I want to bring change that the town will embrace, and create a master plan for the future," he said.
He was dropped into the center of an ongoing maelstrom in the town over the residents' ongoing resistance to a major construction project that proposes bringing in 50,000 truckloads of earthen construction debris from around New England.
"My role is to facilitate the community's desire, my opinions are irrelevant and should not be driving policy," he said, adding he will be working with the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Board of Health and community groups "to find a solution.
Andrews retired unexpectedly in May. John Moak, eight years removed from the position, returned to serve as interim administrator.
Scribner-MacLean was sworn in on Nov. 5. He touted early results in his plan to add a deeper layer of transparency to governance. One of the items on his job application cites success at enrolling Maynard in ClearGov, a website that allows municipalities to upload all town information; and for residents to access that information. He plans to write a grant application to request the $5,000 required for the first year's membership for Pepperell.
His short-term agenda is to create a budget that will allow for implementation of the town's goals. The challenge, he explained, is that 60 percent of the budget goes to employee salaries and more than 20 percent is earmarked for employee health insurance. The remainder is for all other projects. His longer-term vision for the town is to improve infrastructure by investing in the public buildings, roadways, and water and sewer upgrades.
Brynn Montesanti is also a new face at Town Hall. She is the first to fill the new dual-role position, administrative assistant for the Planning Board and Board of Health. Montesanti, 41, brings experience as general manager of The Country Club of Billerica.
Her early tasks, since her July 26 starting date, were to update the two departments' town webpages, including agendas and minutes recaps. She divides each day in half; spending the morning at Board of Health and the afternoons at the Planning Board.
"I love my job," said Montesanti, a mother of three. "I've been given an opportunity to serve my community and help the town run smoothly."