SHIRLEY -- A few weeks into a term that was expected to last several months, Interim Town Administrator Travis Miller has left the building.
Whether his absence is temporary or permanent is apparently a matter for the selectmen to decide and although a source familiar with town hall staff told the Nashoba Valley Voice last week that Miller would not return, the selectmen have since said otherwise.
When a reporter asked the board at Monday night's meeting what had happened with Miller, they didn't even acknowledge that he was gone.
"He's still with us," Selectman Enrico Cappucci said.
Told that some people said he'd been terminated, Chairman Holly Haase said, "We've heard that rumor, too"
Last week, Haase had said Miller was on "administrative leave" but she declined to elaborate. "I can't talk about it," she said. Monday night, she said the board would take the matter up in an executive session the next day.
Asked after the meeting if they had a "Plan B" in case the matter wasn't resolved, Haase and Cappuci indicated they'd deal with the issue if it came up. Selectman Debra Flagg, who was on vacation in Florida and participated in the meeting via Skype, had signed off when the meeting adjourned.
Miller, a former municipal management consultant from Andover, was hired earlier this year to temporarily take over after the former administrator left. At that time, the selectmen anticipated the interim position might last up to six months, while a search for a permanent replacement was conducted by a professional recruiter and a volunteer search committee.
Miller was one of the finalists the selectmen interviewed at a public meeting in January, voting two-to-one to offer him the job. Haase voted no, citing his lack of job-specific experience.
Interviewed shortly after he moved into the corner office last month, Miller said things were going well, that other town hall staff members were welcoming and helpful and that he hoped to stay on. He aimed to apply for the permanent position, he said, reiterating what he previously told selectmen.
As the town administrator search process moves forward , a community forum is also in the works.
Organized by the Communications Committee, the event, tentatively slated for early spring, is aimed at mining public opinion on the kinds of talents and traits residents would like to see in their next town administrator, providing another area of input for the selectmen to consider when they fill the position.