SHIRLEY — Transition Manager Ron Marchetti updates the Board of Selectmen at each meeting on progress he’s making toward putting himself out of a job, which he volunteered for, but not indefinitely.
At the Aug. 30 meeting, Marchetti said the good news is that after 38 days — 361 hours — on the job, he’s more than half done with the work he agreed to do, having signed on for no more than 700 hours. After all, he pointed out, it’s not the only hat he wears, personally or professionally. In the municipal sector, he’s an assessor and chairs the Tax Collection Committee. He also serves as president of the Shirley Charitable Foundation.
As transition manager, Marchetti agreed to fill in while the town realigns itself in the wake of losing a town administrator, a job that’s been refashioned with input from many sources. The new position, outlined in a report submitted to the selectmen, will be chief administrative officer, with a new slant on responsibilities and focus.
Having previously predicted about 50 responses to the ad he hopes to post soon, Marchetti updated that number to 100 or more after consulting with administrators in surrounding towns. A diverse group will screen the applicants, he said, consisting of citizens, business leaders and municipal staff, to come up with five finalists for selectmen to interview.
The selectmen received Marchetti’s report but had not read through it yet.
Selectman Andy Deveau said it included a hefty reading list.
Marchetti attached his research materials, he said, including policies from other communities, documents citing selectmen’s responsibilities, recruitment guidelines and financial management of town offices and the selectmen’s handbook, plus Government Study Committee reports from 1993 and the current group.
“We’ll give it a shot,” Deveau said, targeting the end of the week for selectmen to complete the formidable assignment, in which case it might come up for a vote at a working session that would be scheduled later in the week.
Another issue that could come up then — or at the next meeting — would be whether or not to schedule a Fall Town Meeting. Chairman Kendra Dumont asked if it’s necessary. Marchetti said it’s a given, with “five or six” items to address.
Although the board didn’t discuss it, one such issue might be a request from the School Committee to fund a feasibility study for a big-ticket building project. The bill for the study, split between Ayer and Shirley and presumably reimbursed — in part — by the state, would be for engineering and architectural design studies for a proposed rehab and addition at Ayer Middle High School, to be a shared facility for the new Ayer-Shirley Regional School District, which becomes operational on July 1, 2011
The Regional School Committee at its recent meeting voted four to one in favor of forwarding the request.