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October 20, 2019  |  

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Clinton Residents Will Participate in Town Manager Selection Process

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The Town Manger Search Committee (TMSC) tasked with helping find candidates for Clinton’s first town manager will hold a public meet and greet with the final candidates for the position in early December.

With the November election approaching, TMSC Chairman and Selectman Phil Sengle (R) said that the TMSC held a joint meeting with the candidates for the town council positions to fill the candidates in with the process moving forward. Doug Thomas, a representative from Strategic Government Resources (SGR), the firm hired by the town to assist with the search, took part in the meeting via conference call. Sengle said that 10 of the 11 Town Council candidates were present for the meeting.

“They obviously are going to be the people to select the town manager and negotiate with them,” Sengle said. “They’re all smart people and it becomes real now.”

The seven-member town council that will be elected in the November elections will be the body that conducts final interviews and selects the town manager.

As of press time, Sengle said that SGR had received 17 applications for the job, which is open to applications until Sept 23.

“I felt that was quite encouraging,” Sengle said.

In early October, the TMSC will meet with Thomas to begin reviewing the applications. The TMSC will narrow down the applications to a final list of three to five people, who will be invited to Clinton for public meet and greets scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 2 and 3.

During the meet and greets, the town manager candidates will be given tours of Clinton and attend events in the morning and evening where they will meet the public and field questions from the residents.

“You can see them act with some spontaneity and under a little bit of pressure,” Sengle said, adding that the interest between the candidates and town has to be a two-way street. “It’s like a marriage—it’s not simply do we like them, they have to like us, too.”

In the 2018 elections, the town overwhelmingly voted to change its form of government from the current selectman form of government to a town manager form. With a town manager form of government, there will no longer be a board of selectmen. Instead, a professional, accredited town manager, answerable to a newly formed, seven-member town council, will act as the town’s chief executive, taking on many of the duties handled by the current first selectman. The hiring or firing of the town manager would require at least a 5-2 majority vote by the Town Council.

The Town Council that will hire and supervise the new town manager will be selected in the November 2019 elections. The inaugural manager will be offered a three-year contract, but there is no limitation on the number of times a contract may be renewed or extended.

Once a town manager is selected, it is likely that the person will need 30 to 90 days to take office, especially if he or she is a town manager in another town. During that time before the new hire comes to Clinton to take office, the town would appoint or hire an interim manager.

“SGR understands clearly that as a town looking for its first town manager, it has to be a good fit,” Sengle said.

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