North Adams' Canales, Stockbridge ink deal for next town administrator

Michael Canales

STOCKBRIDGE — It's official: The town's new administrator, Michael Canales, of North Adams, will begin work Sept. 14, under a three-year contract he and town officials signed this week.

Canales has been the city's administrative officer for the past eight years, reporting to Mayor Thomas Bernard since his inauguration in January 2018.

Starting next week, Canales will spend one day a week in Stockbridge working with interim Town Administrator Mark Webber to familiarize himself with his new community.

"He's sharp and he'll be a great fit," Webber said. He was appointed as interim administrator a year ago, after Danielle Fillio resigned for the same post in Richmond.

The Select Board voted 3-0 on July 9 to hire Canales, after a search committee produced two finalists, including Thomas Banisch, the former First Selectman of Madison, Conn.

His annual starting salary will be $95,000, rising to $97,500 on June 30, 2021, and to $100,000 on Sept. 30, 2021.

The salary requires routine appropriation approval by town meeting voters and is subject to satisfactory evaluations beginning no later than nine months after his starting date. The Select Board will provide Canales with a written summary of the evaluation, as well as an opportunity to discuss it with the board members.

According to the contract, Canales will work under the general direction of the Select Board and will be responsible for "essential functions," such as:

- Preparing and administering all department budgets under supervision of the Select Board;

- Serving as the board's agent for all collective bargaining negotiations;

- Acting as the chief procurement officer responsible for proper board execution of all contracts and payments for goods and services;

- Administering the town's personnel plan, preparing the employee handbook, conducting applicant interviews with the Select Board and department heads, responsible for employee relations issues and discipline, and providing recommendations to the board for personnel actions;

- Preparing annual and special town meetings, as well as board agendas, and maintenance of all public meeting records;

- Acting by and for the Select Board on administrative matters and anything else requiring official action, making recommendations and carrying out board decisions where appropriate;

- Preparing and administering all town grants, except for the Police Department;

- Providing consultation services for all town boards, commissions and committees, maintaining town administrator records and providing quarterly reports to the board.

The contract agreement requires Canales to "devote full-time attention to the business of the town" and rules out any other business or occupation, except by written permission of the Select Board.

He cannot hold any other public elected or appointed office in the town, but he can represent Stockbridge on regional boards and commissions with the approval of the Select Board but without additional compensation from the town.

The agreement also includes the town's share of family health insurance premiums, and the same disability and life insurance policies provided to other nonunion town employees.

The contract also contains standard provisions allowing the board to terminate his services after previous notice and a hearing; a decision by the board to regionalize with other towns for joint administration or management would be an adequate reason for termination.

Nonrenewal of the agreement by the board after it expires in three years requires 90 days' advance notice and termination without cause before the expiration triggers a lump-sum cash payment equal to three months' salary.

If Canales chooses to leave, he has to give the town 90 days' notice in writing, The contract can be terminated whenever the board and Canales mutually agree to do so, in writing.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.