SHIRLEY -- Town Administrator Patrice Garvin will leave Shirley next month to become town administrator in Belmont, a step up into a larger town that features a significant raise.
Garvin interviewed for the Belmont job earlier this month and was formally appointed on Monday, the Belmont Citizen-Herald reported. She will continue to work in Shirley until Jan. 10, 2018 according to Board of Selectmen Chair Holly Haase.
"I wish her well and I wish her the best in her new position," Haase said. "There are some great things she did and we appreciate those things."
Selectmen will discuss Garvin's departure following Thursday's Special Town Meeting. Haase said she personally would expect the town to seek an interim town administrator, although that outcome is uncertain as the other two selectmen must also weigh in and vote.
When Garvin takes the reins in Belmont on Jan. 15, she will manage a town roughly three times the size of Shirley -- and with a new salary of $168,000, she will be compensated significantly more, too. Her Belmont contract runs for three years.
Garvin leaves Shirley after a stretch of significant upheaval.
In 2015, the town did not have a balanced budget, so Garvin proposed cutting her guaranteed raise from $6,000 to $1,810. But voters at a Special Town Meeting to balance the budget denied awarding Garvin that raise.
There was controversy at the police department, too, with a former police sergeant fired at the recommendation of the chief and then rehired at a higher rank as part of a legal settlement. The chief, Thomas Goulden, later agreed to part ways with the town.
Garvin could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday, but in an email interview with the Citizen-Herald, she identified her greatest strength as managing municipal finance and said she plans to work to build trust in Belmont.
"I have been able to gain trust and respect in Shirley and have no doubt I will accomplish this in Belmont," Garvin wrote. "Belmont has financial struggles and capital challenges ahead and it needs an administrator that understands the greater picture and how to get there."
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