Town Manager Search Process Accelerating

The Bedford Select Board approved hiring the executive recruitment consultant firm Community Paradigm Associates of Plymouth, and will be narrowing down the pool of volunteer applicants for the candidate screening committee progressing toward hiring a new town manager before September 11.

The search process for Bedford’s third town manager is formally underway.

The Select Board is scheduled to interview applicants for the candidate screening committee at its regular meeting on May 22. At its last meeting on May 8, the board approved hiring Community Paradigm Associates of Plymouth as executive recruitment consultant, after Chair Bopha Malone and Paul Mortenson, serving as a subcommittee of the board, recommended the appointment.

Malone said in an interview over the weekend that the board’s timetable culminates with a new town manager in office “on or before Sept. 11.”

The vacancy results from the resignation of Sarah Stanton, who was named Undersecretary of Economic Strategies in the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. Colleen Doyle, Assistant Town Manager for Human Resources and Administration, has been acting Town Manager since the beginning of the month.

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Malone said the Volunteer Coordinating Committee cleared the names of 15 residents interested in the screening committee, on which she and Mortenson also will serve. The panel will work with the recruitment consultant to identify prospective candidates and recommend finalists to be interviewed by the full board.

She added that she and Mortenson will invite a number of the applicants to meet with the Select Board on May 22, and the board will choose the five members after the interviews.

After the screening committee is finalized, Malone said, the position will be advertised and the screening committee will work with the search consultant on public outreach.

Select Board member Shawn Hanegan asked about community forums at the May 8 board meeting. Mortenson said live and virtual opportunities and perhaps a survey should be considered, all targeting the most diverse audience.

Also at the meeting, Malone explained that several of the principals at Community Paradigm Associates are also educators, which she and Mortenson saw as an advantage. Mortenson added that they were also impressed with the record of community outreach.

John Petrin, a former Burlington town administrator, will be the town’s principal point of contact with the firm. Petrin also is a former town manager in Ashland, town administrator in Harvard, and assistant superintendent of schools in Marlborough. He is a former president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and of the Massachusetts Municipal Managers Association. 

Founder and managing principal of Community Paradigm is Bernard Lynch, who worked as Chelmsford town manager for 20 years.

The Select Board’s approval of the firm was contingent on the Town Counsel’s approval of an engagement agreement.

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