3 Finalists Named for Town Manager, Including Reading's Assistant Town Manager
Also: Residents oppose parking change on Woburn Street.
Now there are three finalists for town manager and one of the trio is a familiar face: assistant Town Manager and Finance Director Robert LeLacheur.
The Town Manager Screening Committee has also named John D’Agostino, town manager in Abington, and Kerry Speidel, Lunenburg’s town administrator, as finalists.
The Board of Selectmen will interview the three finalists individually, in public, this coming Tuesday, March 5, starting at 6 p.m.
The position will open when town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner retires this spring. He has held the job for more than a quarter of a century. Board of Selectmen Chairman Stephen Goldy wants the selectmen to choose a new town manager on March 19, the last scheduled board meeting before the town election April 2.
LeLacheur has served as assistant town manager and finance director here since 2005. Before that, he served as a partner and principal with Merganser Capital Management for 12 years, from 1993 to 2005, and worked for several Boston and New York-based financial firms for more than 10 years, according to a screening committee summary of each candidate's work experience. A certified financial analyst, LeLacheur holds an MBA from the Babson Graduate School of Business.
D’Agostino has been Abington Town Manager since 2010. He served as town manager of Mansfield from 1997 to 2009; as town administrator for Blackstone (1995-1997) and as municipal grants manger for Springfield (1989-1995). He holds two master’s degrees, one from the University of Hartford, one from American International College.
Speidel has served as Lunenburg town administrator since 2007. She has also worked as finance director for three Massachusetts towns: Chelmsford, Sudbury and North Andover. She also served as a city manager in Arizona. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University.
The resumes of all three finalists should be posted on the town’s website, ci.reading.ma.us.
More than 29 people applied to become Reading’s next town manager, according to the screening committee report to the selectmen. The screening committee evaluated 14 applications and interviewed seven candidates.
The town hired the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston to help recruit a new town manager. The center has “vetted” all three finalists by checking the finalists' references and conducting background checks, according to Tuesday’s discussion.
The seven-member screening committee comprises Jacqueline Carson, chief executive officer of Sanborn Place Home Care and Day Services in Reading; Brenda Souza, vice president of human resources for Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Mark Dockser, representing the Finance Committee; Superintendent John Doherty; Police Chief James Cormier, representing town department heads; and selectmen James Bonazoli and Ben Tafoya.
Reading is held in high regard outside of town, Bonazoli said. There’s an “awful lot we do right.”
Goldy urged each selectman to do his own research on the finalists.
In other action, the selectmen voted 4-0 to change the parking regulations for some 14 parking spaces on the south side of Woburn Street, between Brande Court and Linden Street, to allow local business owners and their employees to park there all day with a blue tag. The tag costs $250 a year. Parking in the area is in short supply, the selectmen said, and limited to two hours there now.
Five area residents objected to the parking plan in a residential neighborhood, to what some consider deferring to businesses and narrowing the street with parked cars.
Residents whose property abuts the parking area can get a blue tag free, according to the discussion. Police Chief Cormier reiterated that point to residents after the meeting.