Entering Dalton Sign

Three candidates will compete to become Dalton’s next police chief, including a 23-year member of the force, Sgt. Deanna Strout.

DALTON — As many as four candidates to become Dalton’s next town manager will face questions from the Select Board in videoconferences two nights this month.

Whether all four will elect to become finalists isn’t yet known. But, all those in contention must be willing to move to Dalton within a year of being hired, as a town bylaw and state law require.

The board fielded questions Wednesday from the volunteer panel that, for months, has been recruiting candidates to succeed former Town Manager Kenneth Walto, who retired in August, after two decades in the post.

Sandra J. Albano, the interim manager, said the search panel wanted clarification on the residency rule — and got it. She said members of the group were not necessarily advocating for the policy to change.

The board also firmed up steps leading to interviews with finalists set for both 6 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and Jan. 27. Those sessions will be held on the Zoom platform and will be open to the public.

Select Board members asked Albano, who normally serves as Dalton’s town accountant, to ask all four candidates to indicate whether they want to enter the last round as finalists.

“Once they agree to an interview, we’d have to release their names to the public,” said Robert W. Bishop Jr., the board’s chairman.

Members agreed that they had no wiggle room on allowing the person hired to live outside Dalton.

John F. Boyle said he was not opposed to letting the new manager live in the wider region, but said the legislation that created the town’s top administrative position doesn’t allow it.

“Unless you’re going to change the law, which is not going to happen,” Boyle said. “I guess we can’t even pursue it, and I was for it.”

The first interviews with town manager candidates will follow by one week two sessions that a different search committee will conduct, on Jan. 12 and Jan. 13, with five candidates in the running to become police chief.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

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Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.