Administrator looks to 'new beginning' in Richmond post

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RICHMOND — The deal is sealed. For the next three years, Danielle Fillio will be town administrator under a contract signed this week, after her recent unanimous appointment by the Select Board.

Fillio, a Lee resident whose last day as Stockbridge town administrator was Wednesday, will begin in Richmond on Aug. 5. Her initial salary is $75,000 a year, comparable to her recent pay in Stockbridge.

To assist the transition, interim Richmond Town Administrator Robert Markel will stay on for one week after she starts, Select Board member Neal Pilson said.

Fillio's contract calls for a performance review after six months, followed by annual evaluations. Paid vacation, health and retirement benefits and a 40-hour weekly schedule are specified, plus occasional night meetings, for the town of 1,489 residents with a $7 million municipal budget, including education spending for the K-8 public school.

"I am looking forward to a new beginning and wish all the best to Stockbridge," Fillio told The Eagle Wednesday as she cleaned out her office.

Markel began work in Richmond on June 7, a week after former administrator Mark Pruhenski departed to become town manager of Great Barrington.

In addition to retired West Stockbridge and Cheshire Town Administrator Mark Webber, Markel has been mentioned by Stockbridge Select Board members as a potential candidate for an interim post there while the town launches an extensive search for a successor to Fillio. The search by a screening committee is expected to last for six to nine months.

Markel said Wednesday that, as requested by Stockbridge Select Board Chairman Terry Flynn, he has agreed to attend Monday evening's board meeting, where interim candidates will be interviewed. The board plans to make a decision on the interim appointment at its July 25 meeting.

In Richmond, Markel worked 10 hours a week in June, increasing to 20 hours a week after July 1, with a rate of $60 per hour.

He has served as an interim town administrator in Becket, Buckland (in the village of Shelburne Falls), Northfield, Southampton, Stoneham and Templeton. He was mayor of Springfield from 1992 to 1996, and has been town administrator in Norfolk and in Kittery, Maine. He retired as town manager of Ipswich in January 2012.

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Richmond's Select Board has appointed Angela Garrity, the town accountant, to the additional post of town clerk. She replaces Marie Ryan, the newly appointed town administrator in West Stockbridge.

Ryan has agreed to continue in Richmond as assistant town clerk.

Fillio, who served Stockbridge as town administrator for 2 1/2 years and as assistant administrator for nine years previously, was chosen by the Richmond Select Board in a 3-0 vote July 2. She and finalist Angeline Ellison, of Sturbridge, the former town manager of Uxbridge, were interviewed last month.

Fillio got the news of her selection in a phone call from Select Board Chairman Roger Manzolini during the board meeting.

"Thank you so much. I'm so excited. I can't wait," she said on speaker phone.

"I really feel good about that," Manzolini said later. Select Board member Alan Hanson agreed, saying "it was the right thing."

And Pilson told Fillio: "We all feel you're the best candidate to take the position."

Later, she said that "this is going to be a really great opportunity for me to continue doing what I enjoy doing. It's a good opportunity for Stockbridge to figure out how they really want to run the town. They're in a very good position financially, with a great group of employees."

Although Fillio had said she was willing to continue in Stockbridge for 30 more days, it has been reported that the Select Board voted 2-1 behind closed doors to release her from her contract within a week, with one month's vacation pay.

The contract had specified three months' advance notice for a resignation, subject to an earlier departure by mutual agreement.

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


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