Yesterday the East Longmeadow town council met to split hairs over the educational requirements for the next town manager.

The search for a new town manager kicked off late last year when Mary McNally, the present town manager, abruptly resigned eight months before her contract was due to expire. Since then, McNally has repeatedly extended the time of her departure. Last month it was agreed that McNally would in fact stay to the end of her original contract term, June 2022.

The council conducted interviews last month of three candidates who were deemed finalists for the position. However, during last month’s meeting, the council voted to start the search over again, this time using a new screening company.

The town manager is the town’s chief executive officer, essentially our unelected mayor. He or she is chosen by and accountable to the council.

According to East Longmeadow’s home rule charter (Article 3-1),

The Town Council shall appoint by a majority vote of the full Council a Town Manager. The
Town Manager shall be a person of proven administrative ability, especially qualified by
education and training with prior experience as a city or Town Manager, or an assistant city or
Town Manager or the equivalent public or private sector level experience. The Town Council
may from time to time establish such additional qualifications as deemed necessary and
appropriate.

Based on this article, the council used the following advertisement when it last sought a town manager:

Preferred candidates should have a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred) in public administration or a related field and experience as a city/town manager or assistant city/town manager or equivalent with demonstrated skills and abilities in municipal finance, communications, personnel administration, time management, economic development and community planning. Candidates should have a proven record of municipal leadership and team building, be self-starters, and be able to build cooperative relationships with appointed/elected officials, residents and town employees.

After much discussion regarding the level of education preferred by councilors, they voted to keep the language used during the last town manager search, subject to revisions by the new screening company.