Council Holds off on Naming Town Administrator

DERRY — The Derry Town Council will continue to mull the choice of a Town Administrator, after announcing in the July 1 meeting that they have not come to a decision.

On June 19 the town staff and members of the community met Richard Brown of Massachusetts and Stephen Eldridge of Maine, the Council’s chosen finalists for the position. After the finalists were interviewed by the stakeholders, the Council was expected to meet in nonpublic that following Saturday and to make their decision, after which they would negotiate a contract and make the announcement in the July 1 meeting.

It didn’t happen.

Chairman Mark Osborne made a brief announcement at the beginning of the July 1 meeting, stating, “The Council is still discussing candidates and has not made a final decision.”

In the agenda item under “Town Administrator Search,” Osborne elaborated. “We do continue to endeavor to find an administrator,” he told the television audience. “We need to have further discussion among ourselves, and to continue to negotiate with the candidates.”

The Council then went into nonpublic session to discuss the search, emerging 45 minutes later to resume the meeting.

After the meeting, Osborne said, “We are still in the process and we are talking among ourselves. It is still the same two candidates.”

Asked when there would be an announcement, Osborne said, “I don’t know. Soon, I hope.”

The Council was following an ambitious timetable mapped out by member David Fischer, who also served as facilitator for the process. Fischer’s proposal called for the Council reviewing and rating each of the 72 applications throughout May, determining semi-finalists on June 2, interviewing semi-finalists June 10, 12 and 14, determining finalists June 14, announcing finalists June 17, the stakeholder forums June 19, and choosing an administrator June 21, with the negotiations and background checks being held June 23-30.

The Council is seeking to find a replacement for former Town Administrator John Anderson, who was placed on administrative leave July 12, 2013 after a July 11 incident at his home in which he is alleged to have exposed himself to a Direct TV salesman. He was formally charged Aug. 16 and terminated his relationship with the town at the end of October, when his contract was up. His trial is scheduled for July 30.

The next Council meeting is July 15 at 7:30 p.m.