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Selectmen vote to negotiate with Therrien

Date: 8/19/2012

By Chris Maza

LONGMEADOW — The Longmeadow Select Board voted unanimously to begin contract negotiations with Bonnie Therrien, currently the Interim Town Manager for the town of North Branford, Conn, according to a press release sent to Reminder Publications by Selectman Mark Gold.

Therrien was one of four new candidates to be interviewed on Aug. 15 for the position after the board was unsuccessful in its negotiations with Thomas Guerino, town administrator for the town of Bourne. Guerino was selected by a 4-1 super majority vote, but concerns about his selection were raised by Gold and Select Board chair Paul Santaniello.

Santaniello told this newspaper on Aug. 16 that he could not speak for the rest of the board or predict their intentions, but he anticipated some form of background check or site visits of candidates' current or former towns of employment. However, the board instead decided to take a vote and chose Therrien by a 5-0 tally.

Therrien, Mi chael Dutton, the former town administrator of Oak Bluffs, Nick Breault, town administrator of East Longmeadow, and Kenneth Walto, town manager of Dalton, all interviewed for the position.

While all of the candidates stated they would have an open door and collaborative approach with the Select Board, department heads and the public, Therrien, who previously served as town manager for the Connecticut towns of Hebron and Weathersfield, stated she would publish a weekly management report to keep all parties abreast of the doings of her office. The report, which would include department information, a calendar of events and a list of all scheduled meetings, would be distributed to members of town government, the press and would be made available to the community.

"This would be a huge tool for connecting with the town," she said.

Therrien also said she felt a close relationship between the town manager and the Select Board was crucial, specifically in planning for the town.

"I think it's very important that goals for the town be set by elected officials," she said. "My job is to help accomplish those goals."

Negotiations for a contract with Therrien are expected to begin shortly with an anticipated salary range of $105,000 to $115,000. The original salary range suggested by the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston was advertised in the initial national search it conducted as $115,000 to $135,000.

Former town manager Robin Crosbie's salary in 2011 was $98,561.