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"Opt-Out" Option For Town Manager Contract Rejected 3-2

by Connie Sartini
     Based on the terms of the employment contract with Town Manager Mark Haddad, the provisions currently in place include an Opt-Out Clause for year two and three of the contract, that may be exercised by the Town Manager or the Select Board. Notification by either party must be in writing prior to 12/31/19 for the second year.
     At the November 25 meeting of the Select Board, there was discussion about a two-week delay in making decision in order to "walk through the [opt-out] process."
     Select Board member Josh Degen stressed that if there were “not three members of the Board considering the opt-out, then we can put it to rest tonight. My opinion is that he has a good attitude toward the job and this has made him a better Town Manager. He serves the town well. I am in favor of continuing the contract. We’ll see if the majority feels the same way.”
     However, Select Board member Becky Pine pushed to delay the discussion and decision for another two weeks, stressing that she felt it warranted more attention by the Board adding that she did not want her fellow Board members to "ignore" it.
     Pine’s ‘ignore it’ comment elicited quick response from three of her colleagues.
     Degen replied, “The last thing I did was ignore it. I thought long and hard about this.”
     Select Board member John Reilly stated, “I agree with Josh. I didn’t ignore and it isn’t going to change in two weeks.”
     Colleague John Giger said, “I am where Josh and John are. I take exception that you think I ignored it.” He added, “In two weeks we will be in the same place we are now.” He stressed, “We’ve seen changes that we were looking for and they are very good.”
     Board Chairman Alison Manugian said she agreed with Pine, and then said she would entertain a motion.
     Giger moved and the majority of the Select Board voted not to chose to exercise the opt out clause in the Town Manager’s contract. Board members Degen, Reilly and Giger voted in favor of not opting out while Pine and Manugian were opposed.
     Town Manager Mark Haddad’s contract will continue through the end of 2020.
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