Lee Town Clerk Christopher Brittain

Christopher Brittain, who has been serving as interim town administrator, was named town administrator by a 3-0 vote of the Lee Select Board on Thursday night. Brittain, who also serves as town clerk, has been interim town administrator for nearly five months

LEE — A mix of current and former town officials and newcomers to municipal government will be charged with recommending the best candidates for a new town administrator.

The Select Board on Tuesday evening formed an ad hoc, seven-person town administrator search committee from 15 qualified candidates who submitted letters of interest.

The committee will sift through applications for those seeking to succeed Lee/Lenox Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Ketchen, whose last official day is Sunday. He will revert to being a full-time town manager in Lenox on Monday.

The panel will come up with a list of finalists for the Select Board to interview in public session. The board will meet with the committee Oct. 5 to discuss the specifics of the search process.

The search committee will consist of former selectmen Gordon Bailey and David Consolati. Bailey is a retired state building inspector; Consolati a self-employed contractor. They will be joined by Lee Finance Committee Chairman Nick Arienti, former Lee Town Treasurer Susan Kelley, and Janet Warner, a retired Lee Elementary School physical education teacher and Lee Youth Commission member.

The two newcomers are Lee native Rachelle Walker, onetime assistant varsity girls basketball coach at Lee Middle and High School, and Maryland native Marilyn Wyatt, who lived and worked in U.S. embassies for 20 years before moving back to this country in 2014.

“I understand effective decision making in small groups,” Wyatt wrote in her intent-to-serve letter. “I see Lee has amazing potential under the right leadership.”

Select Board Chairwoman Patricia Carlino said it was “heartwarming to see so many people step forward” to tackle a difficult task of helping find Ketchen’s successor.

Meanwhile, the board has named Lee Town Clerk Christopher Brittain as temporary town administrator, until the position permanently is filled.

”[Chris], we welcome you to our group and we hope you do well,” Carlino said.

”There’s no doubt about it,” added Selectman Robert Jones.

Brittain said he looks forward to serving Lee in a different capacity.

“During this time the [town] clerk’s office will continue to operate as usual,” he wrote in an email to The Eagle. “In order to maintain our service to the citizens of Lee, we have hired a new staff member that will assist with both the clerk and tax collectors’ offices.”

The Lenox Select Board voted in late July to sever its intermunicipal agreement with Lee so that Ketchen can focus full time on the issues and projects of the town where he is based.

Ketchen, 44, earns $128,638. His annual salary is split between the two towns. Going forward as town manager of Lenox, his salary will be $115,570, as of the current fiscal year that began July 1.

In May 2017, annual town meeting representatives in Lee named Ketchen as the Lee-Lenox chief administrative officer, a shared-services innovation approved the same month by Lenox voters.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.