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Town account position to officially be filled by Caliento

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Through extensive searches and in depth interviews, the Board of Selectmen have chosen two applicants to host negotiations with to fill the positions of systems network administrator and town accountant.

Both applicants were approved by the Board of Selectmen by votes of 2 - 1.

Town Accountant

Ray Miller, chair of the Appropriations Committee and Tom Florence, town clerk, joined the Board of Selectmen to interview five candidates for the position of town accountant.

A lengthy debate took place amidst the five men before a decision was made.

"I see strengths in each candidate but I had to look at their overall strength," Miller said. "There are certain things that are unique to municipal accounting. We're looking for someone with experience." His choice for the position was Catherine Kaye.

Florence chose Tom Caliento, the person who has been serving as interim town accountant for the past seven months, because of his work in that position and his past experience.

Selectmen Jack Villamaino and Jim Driscoll also chose Caliento as their first choice and Driscoll provided letters of recommendation for Caliento from Police Chief Doug Mellis, Planning Director Robyn MacDonald, School Committee Chair Bob Mazzariello and school superintendent Edward Costa.

"Caliento has a great deal of aptitude for this position," Villamaino remarked.

Selectman Joe Townshend pointed out that Caliento has had eight different jobs in the past 16 years. His choice was Sandra Wrona, the only applicant with a certified public accountant (CPA) certification and a master's degree in accounting.

"We've punished people filling interim positions before [by not giving them the full-time position]," Driscoll said. "Caliento jumped up to fill this position and has done it well."

"My professional experience is centered in the municipal finance field. I grew up in town and have been involved in community activities for years. So, although there were no long term commitments the fit appeared right," Caliento said.

He continued by saying that it feels good to be able to finally settle into the position and that he's looking forward to serving and "moving things to the next level."

Caliento lists four short term goals concerning the town accountant's office: to complete the implementation of the town's new accounting and municipal management software system (Munis), to look for ways to control expenditures and develop new revenue generating opportunities, to develop transparent financial reporting and to provide leadership and support with a team approach.

Systems Network Administrator

Four different applicants were invited to come before the select board and the head of the Information Technology (IT) department, Ryan Quimby, for their final interviews. One applicant could not make it to the meeting, however.

Bill Glover, who is currently working with the Amherst Police Department, was chosen by a majority vote by the Board of Selectmen. Glover has completed server training, including training in virtualization and provides consulting services for libraries and other police departments throughout the Pioneer Valley.

"I can directly relate my communication skills about technology to my current position," he told the board. "Police aren't always the most technologically-advanced workers so I explain different technology issues everyday."

When asked how he would prioritize the town's IT issues, Glover responded, "If it's about infrastructure or it's critical, that always goes first. It depends on the level of the issue."

Glover described himself as very hard working and very honest. "I haven't come across a technical problem I haven't been able to figure out," he added.

If he does accept the position and the pay, Glover said he will able to start working for the town within two weeks.

"All three were great candidates," Quimby said. "I chose Bill because of his experience." Driscoll liked both Craig Woodward and Glover, but said he would defer to the decision of Quimby. Villamaino also agreed Glover had the most experience.

Townshend was in favor of applicant Frank Bowrys.

"I'm excited [to have the position filled]," Quimby told Reminder Publications.