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Town administrator re-hired

By Alex Ross

Staff Intern

SOUTH HADLEY The employment contract of Town Administrator Patricia Vichesi was renewed by the Select board, at their March 20 meeting by a vote of 3-1.

Vinchesi's new contract will allow her to stay on as Town Administrator for another three years when her contract will expire in June 2010. She will also receive a $4,837 raise for FY08 (Fiscal year 2008), followed by a raise of $4,001 the next year, and another raise of $3,121 the proceeding year. Future pay raises based on Vinchesis' performance as Town Administrator will be subject to the Select Board's approval.

There has been two months of research and analysis of the salaries of other Town Administrators in communities across the Pioneer Valley, similar in size and structure to that of South Hadley. According to Select Board Chair Barbara L. Eckman, accepting the contract was the conclusion the majority of the board reached.

"The average tenure of an administrator is seven years and we did not want Tricia to move on," said Eckman.

Eckman also sited a new town-wide budget format, strengthened financial reserves, a new system based on performance in evaluating non-union staff, and acquiring Community Development Block Grants that amount to $600,000 to improve infrastructure in the town's Falls area amongst Vinchesis' accomplishments. Vinchesi also is playing an active role in the redevelopment of the Texon building and overseeing the Ledges Golf Club.

However, Select Board member Carlene Hamlin, who voted against approving Vinchesi's new contract, said in a press release that she disagreed in the Board's decision.

"Currently we are facing a $1.3 million dollar deficit. With all the financial restraints facing our Town I don't believe that the Board should have approved such a contract."

Vinchesi started her tenure as Town Administrator in July 2000, and is glad to stay on in her current position.

"I am gratified by the Board's commitment to my continued service with the Town and am excited about new development in the falls as well as the likely reduction of our golf course deficit. Change can take years and I am glad to know I will be here to share with others these long awaited benefits to our community."