EAST LONGMEADOW – The Board of Selectmen recently finalized a memorandum of understating (MOU) for interim Town Administrator Greg Moyer, which he said expands his powers and responsibilities to what is typically found in the role of town administrator.
Previously, Moyer stated in the draft MOU that the town administrator position in East Longmeadow is more in name only and the position powers and responsibilities were more in line with an executive secretary of the selectmen’s office with no defined responsibilities and authority to administer the town.
“The whole thing came as a big surprise to come here and find out that it wasn’t this,” Moyer said. “I appreciate the board taking a look at it and saying, ‘OK, we’re going to give this a shot.’ Maybe the public would see that having somebody that can be in charge and centralize things would be beneficial.”
All three selectmen signed the final MOU. Moyer’s powers and responsibilities include making recommendations to selectmen regarding personnel staffing requirements as well as hiring and firing of all department heads, officers, members of boards and commissions and all other employees appointed by the selectmen.
Moyer’s other duties are assisting in compiling the annual operating budget, ensuring a complete inventory of all town property, assisting with collective bargaining negotiations, preparing employee performance evaluations and recommending town policies and procedures to the board.
Federici told Reminder Publications one reason the board granted Moyer expanded powers was to lessen the amount of items that the selectmen have to deal with during its meetings – essentially taking things “off our plate.”
Moyer’s expanded powers would prepare department heads for this potential change to a town manager style of government, he explained.
Federici said if voters turn down the option to change forms of government, he believes the board would also grant expanded powers for a permanent town administrator.
“Having somebody internally who can help them and take some of the burden, in a way, off of them and still keep them informed and still have the approvals, I don’t see why they wouldn’t keep [the final MOU in place for a future town administrator],” Moyer said. “I think it’s perfect.”
The MOU also states that Moyer’s four-month contract ends on Nov. 6.
Moyer said if he were to continue as interim town administrator until the April 2016 Town Election – when voters would be presented with a council-manager form of government – he would have to negotiate to create an additional contract with the selectmen.
He noted that a discussion regarding renewing his contract would likely appear on the agenda of the Board of Selectmen’s Oct. 13 meeting.
“If I am leaving Nov. 6, they have to make a decision as far as, ‘Do they hire an interim administrator or do they just continue on with the current staff until the election and see what happens?’ Given the staff we have, I think that would be fine,” he added.
Moyer said he began hosting weekly department head meetings and one of the most positive outcomes has been increased communication between the town departmental leaders.
Previously, the department heads used to meet once a month, he noted.
“It keeps me informed as to what’s going on in the town and I can share with them what’s going out of this office from a more centralized form of operation,” Moyer explained.
Though the MOU expands Moyer’s powers and responsibilities, he believes an interim town administrator shouldn’t go to extremes to advocate for changes unless “something really needs to be done.”
He added that he plans to streamline aspects of town hall such as personnel files, which should be in a centralized location. Currently, personnel files are located in various departmental offices.
Moyer has also developed a list of core values for the town, which include subjects such as accountability, continuous improvement, leadership and fact based decision making in elected officials, ethics, financial health and economic development, public safety, respect, teamwork, strength in diversity, and trust.
“This is huge to me,” Moyer said. “People think, ‘Bah, just a bunch of flowery things and you could just say that.’ No, we’re going to strive for that and I’m going to judge my success and the success of this [town] on that.”