New Great Barrington town manager will earn $109,000


GREAT BARRINGTON -- The Board of Selectmen and the incoming town manager have agreed upon a three-year contract with a starting salary of $109,000.

Jennifer Tabakin, a senior project manager in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, is expected to sign the contract this week. The former town manager, Kevin O'Donnell, earned about $101,000.

Tabakin's contract takes effect July 1, but she is expected to start working on a part-time transitional basis immediately.

"I am really thrilled to have this opportunity. This is a wonderful position and it's a unique town," Tabakin said Monday in a phone interview. She praised the town's vibrant business community, commitment to environmental protection and cultural activities.

"It's a unique position," she said. "It's a town with amazing resources."

Board of Selectmen Chairman Sean Stanton, who negotiated the contract with advice from his colleagues, said the salary is comparable to what other town managers earn.

"It is higher than the former town manager was paid, but this is our opportunity to move forward with someone who is interested in moving to Great Barrington specifically," Stanton, said.

"She hasn't been looking elsewhere for other jobs," Stanton added.

The contract will include a salary increase of 4 percent to $113,360 after her first nine months and is contingent on a satisfactory or better evaluation by the Selectmen. According to the Empire Center for New York State Police website, which tracks government salaries there, Tabakin earned $117,149 in 2010 -- the most recent year of data available -- working for the New York City mayor's office.

Great Barrington will pay expenses so Tabakin can obtain certification as a Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing official.

Tabakin's contract also includes a professional development expense allowance, work-related travel reimbursement, medical benefits, and up to $10,000 in documented moving costs.

"I do think we got what we need and I think she got what she fully needs to commit to it. I think that's the combination we are looking for," said Selectwoman Deborah Phillips. "I am very pleased with [the contract]."

Selectman Stephen Bannon said he was satisfied the salary fell within the price range the board agreed on.

The Selectmen also approved a temporary contract for Tabakin that will run through July 1. Tabakin is expected to work part-time as town manager at about $60 an hour.

Tabakin currently works in New York City's Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. According to her resume, she has managed the design and construction of a $280 million two-mile East River project. Tabakin also directed the Yankee Stadium Park Replacement program, including the design and construction of $300 million of new parks.

Before joining the mayor's office, Tabakin worked with the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority as a program coordinator and program manager.

Tabakin earned her master's in urban planning from New York University in 1996. She earned an executive certificate in construction management the university's Polytechnic Institute in 2001.

Tabakin said her parents currently live in Lenox. She has two young children.

Tabakin expressed gratitude that she was selected.

"It fits what I want to do," Tabakin said. "I am dedicated to public service."

To reach John Sakata:
or (413)-496-6240.
On Twitter: @JSakata


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