Charles Blanchard (copy)

Williamstown Select Board members recently interviewed the man who became their winning candidate for interim town manager. Pictured clockwise from top left: Andrew Hogeland, Jeffrey Thomas, Anne O’Connor, interviewee Charles T. Blanchard, Jane Patton and Hugh Daley.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Happy with both candidates to serve as a temporary town manager, officials opted Monday for the one with the most time available.

Members of the Select Board voted unanimously in a brief meeting to offer the job of interim town manager to Charles T. Blanchard, then went into private session to discuss a contract.

If Blanchard accepts the offer, he would succeed Jason Hoch and serve until a wider search finds a permanent manager.

Andrew Hogeland, who helped lead the search for a fill-in manager, said Blanchard and another candidate, Robert T. Markel, both appeared qualified to step in. But, Hogeland said the tiebreaker was availability.

During his interview last week, Markel said he had been offered a 20-hour position with the town of Hampden. “We have competition for the other half of his time,” Hogeland said of Markel. “Charlie would be more available.”

Blanchard most recently managed operations in the towns of Palmer and Paxton.

Other members agreed that while both candidates were capable of serving Williamstown, they preferred not to compete for the manager’s attention with another community.

Select Board member Hugh Daley, who helped with the search, said that while it’s hard to say how much time is needed to perform the manager’s duties on an interim basis, he felt that 20 hours is not enough.

“I’d rather have more breathing room to the upside,” Daley said.

Member Anne O’Connor said she was impressed with Blanchard’s outreach and interest in Williamstown.

“What I sensed was how interested he was in this job … really wanting to serve in Williamstown,” she said. “Him going the extra mile … meant a lot to me.”

Before the vote, board member Jeffrey Thomas added that two top officials in Town Hall also expressed support for Blanchard.

In his interview, Blanchard said he lives a two-hour trip from Williamstown and indicated that he could be present in Town Hall three days each week, and also available remotely for the other two days.

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

Investigations editor

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.