LENOX -- The citizens committee seeking a new town manager to succeed Gregory Federspiel is speeding up its timetable by scheduling confidential interviews with six semifinalists for Friday, Aug. 2, three weeks earlier than initially planned.

On the following day in a public session, the Selectmen will interview three finalists pinpointed by the committee and the municipal search firm hired by the town.

The Town Manager Search Committee appointed by the Select Board is working with Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI), which will forward details about 22 qualified candidates culled from the 59 resumes received -- 15 from Massachusetts, including one unidentified Berkshire area hopeful, and one far-flung but unlikely applicant from Bolivia.

The Selectmen could extend a preliminary contract offer to their first choice next month.

At a meeting of the search committee this week, Chairman Jay Carberry listed the key attributes of an ideal town manager as outlined in a document drafted for the group and the Select Board by MRI President Donald R. Jutton, who is overseeing the search.

The list includes "an unblemished record, commanding presence, demonstrated leadership; management and analytic skills; providing direction and oversight with staff; appropriate credentials in public administration and local government operations; significant experience and demonstrated success in public sector labor relations; seven to 10 years of progressive management and administrative experience; significant, demonstrated success in hands-on local government management and leadership; strong working knowledge of budgeting, accounting and finance management; and demonstrated success in capital projects, planning, funding and implementation."

The list also includes attributes such as strong written and verbal public presentation, facilitation and consensus-building skills, and "strength of conviction, resilience and persistence to initiate essential organizational and operational changes in pursuit of efficiency and excellence in customer service."

Summing up, the ideal-candidate profile calls for "a seasoned, mature, creative entrepreneurial public manager capable of building, improving, leading and motivating a successful management team."

Carberry suggested that the document, subject to Select Board approval, would be used by MRI as a tool to evaluate candidates and help develop a list of semifinalists.

The 22 qualified candidates are being asked to prepare responses to essay questions by July 15, said MRI leader Jutton. He has sent their resumes to the local search group, to be followed by the essay responses.

Jutton, who took part in this week's search committee meeting by conference call, plans phone interviews with six to eight semifinalist applicants based in part on the essays as well as their resumes and other information.

Search committee members agreed to hold one-on-one interviews with at least 15 Town Hall staffers, department heads, former town leaders including Federspiel, and key players such as Schools Superintendent Edward Costa III and School Committee Chairman Don Fitzgerald to get their views on the characteristics of an ideal town manager.

Town residents are also encouraged to air their opinions with a search committee member by contacting interim co-town manager Mary Ellen Deming at (413) 637-5500 when Town Hall re-opens on Monday in order to schedule a discussion.

Upcoming scheduled meetings of the Town Manager Search Committee at Town Hall include Saturday, July 13, at 8 a.m.; Tuesday, July 16, at 6 p.m.; and Monday, July 22, at 6 p.m. These are expected to include executive sessions, which are closed to the public.

To contact Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@yahoo.com or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto