On September 22, the Marion Select Board interviewed the three finalists contending to replace retiring Finance Director Judy Mooney, but the members did not arrive at a conclusion.
They have scheduled a public meeting for Thursday, September 28, at 10:30 am at the Town House meeting room, where it is anticipated they will make a selection and adjourn to enter an executive session that will be held for unrelated purposes.
One by one, Jack MacDonald, Heather O’Brien and Tom Valadao interviewed with the board, the third phase in a hiring process that began with a screening of applicants followed by the round of interviews with a half dozen or so of the candidates considered more viable for Marion’s present needs.
None of the three have municipal experience, but all three interviewed well and presented the Select Board with a difficult choice.
“I was all set to pick one of them, it didn’t work out that way,” said Select Board Chairman Toby Burr while reviewing the interviews. Burr mused at the idea of candidates spending a workday alongside Mooney to be followed by her observations. “Who seems to be most in tune with what you’re doing?” he asked hypothetically.
“No matter which person we pick, there’s going to be risk involved,” said Town Administrator Geoff Gorman. “I had a clear favorite with the Hiring Committee, and it’s not necessarily the same favorite I would have after (the finalist interviews.)”
Prior to the finalists’ interviews, Gorman gave the Select Board what he called “a rubric” to guide the process, including suggested questions, a 1-to-5 score card in several categories and a list of prohibited interview questions.
At that time, Gorman told the members that he reviewed the references and encountered “no shocking results from self-nominated references.” He categorized all the finalists’ references as “glowing reports” and said none were received that said, “Yes, Gorman worked here.” That inspired some laughter as the Select Board embarked on the task of conducting the interviews over three successive, one-hour time slots.
After the finalist interviews, Burr said an important factor for him is who’s going to be here 10 years from now?
“We’ve got to let those candidates know that we’re not stalemated but we’ve got a lot to think about,” said Select Board member Randy Parker.
Gorman said all three finalists left understanding that the board needed more time to digest the interviews and references as individuals before coming back to deliberate and vote.
The Marion Select Board scheduled a 10:30 am open session on Thursday, September 28, which will precede an enter executive session, the agenda of which calls for strategy to negotiate with the Marion Harbormaster Department, the Marion Police Brotherhood, nonunion staff and prepare for litigation with the Marion Golf Club.
Marion Select Board
By Mick Colageo