LENOX -- The lengthy search for a new town manager resumes on Friday evening when the five-member search committee holds its first session in four weeks.
The public meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall with as many as a dozen options up for discussion, said Search Committee member Marybeth Mitts.
Because of extensive work-related travel commitments by several members, there have been only two meetings since the end of August. At that time, the Select Board's choice, Steve Bartha, chose to remain in his current position as assistant town manager in Avon, Conn., following a breakdown in contract negotiations with Lenox.
The Friday night meeting will be the first expected to be attended by all five search committee members, Mitts said. "We really need to revisit where we are," she said.
Select Board Chairman David Roche and other board members have said they are awaiting guidance and a strategy from the search committee on how to proceed. The committee is on the agenda to update the Select Board at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The wide range of options to be considered by the search committee include whether to start from square one by formally seeking new applicants, and whether to retain the services of Municipal Resources, Inc., the Meredith, N.H., firm hired by the town last spring to coordinate the search following Town Manager Gregory Federspiel's departure.
So far, MRI has been paid $10,000, with $5,000 more still due, said co-interim Town Manager Mary Ellen Deming.
Other options include reviewing as many as 20 previously submitted applications, contracting with a different firm for a new national search, designating the local committee to handle it on its own, restricting a new search to local candidates, or delaying the process until next spring since "budget season" is already in progress.
Also on the menu, though unlikely, is a possible review of whether the town manager form of local government should continue.
But Committee Chairman Jay Carberry has emphasized that a town manager is needed, the sooner the better, and he has questioned the notion of waiting until next spring, saying "I don't think it's a good idea to keep people in interim situations very long."
Deming -- the longtime director of administrative services who is co-interim manager with Jeffrey Vincent, the current capital projects manager and former DPW chief -- applied last month for the top job. But since the charter rules out candidates employed by the town for the previous three years, a town meeting would be needed to revise the charter if she were chosen.
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