Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Time I Can't Add A Thing

Article published Dec 22, 2009

Board says no to three finalists
Administrator search goes on


STURBRIDGE — Three of the five selectmen took turns last night saying they were not willing to support any of the three finalists for the town administrator position. So now, it’s up to the current search committee to come up with three more finalists.

Donald D. Crawford, former city manager of Hamtramck, Mich.; Pamela T. Nolan, Truro town administrator for five years, and John O. D’Agostino, who was Mansfield town manager for 12 years, were all shot down by Selectman Mary Blanchard, board chairman, and Selectmen Edward P. Goodwin and Harold J. White.

This means that Mrs. Blanchard’s husband, Paxton Town Administrator Charles T. Blanchard, is technically still in the running for the top municipal spot. Mr. Blanchard was one of the three finalists in the original town administrator search this past summer, although the names of the finalists were never officially announced, and a candidate in the just-concluded second search who didn’t make it into the list of 10 semifinalists.

Mr. Goodwin said the search committee brought forth three “good candidates” but his concerns were for the town.

“While I didn’t find anything that made me think that these aren’t talented people, I do have a concern for Sturbridge with the candidates,” Mr. Goodwin said. “So tonight, I wouldn’t be willing to support any of the candidates.”

Mr. White said that while he recognizes the positive attributes of each finalist, he had enough concerns with each one that he would not be willing to support any of them. And Mrs. Blanchard agreed.

“I, like Hal and Ted, I am not comfortable enough with these three candidates to vote for them,” Mrs. Blanchard said. “I would be more comfortable if the search committee brought forward other candidates.”

While all three finalists were nixed, Mr. D’Agostino, however, received backing from Selectmen Thomas R. Creamer and Scott A. Garieri, who is on the search committee. But their support would not be enough to make him the new town administrator if a formal vote were cast.

“For me, personally, I definitely could support Mr. D’Agostino,” Mr. Creamer said.

“John D’Agostino brought a high level of competency and I think he fit the town well with his experience, especially with what the town has going forward,” Mr. Garieri said. “I, too, would be comfortable and looking forward to having John D’Agostino as a town administrator.”

Although he wasn’t in favor of it, Mr. Creamer said if the board is not comfortable with the any of three finalists who were brought forward, then perhaps the board should entertain writing a job description and “wish-list” of what the board wants so the search committee can narrow its search. Instead, the selectmen directed the search committee to produce three finalists, making sure not to say new or additional, so Mr. Crawford, Ms. Nolan and Mr. D’Agostino could all or individually be brought forward again to the board.

“I think we’re all up here to do the best for the town,” Mrs. Blanchard said. “Three of us apparently came to one conclusion and two people came to another conclusion.”

Copyright 2009 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.


  1. This is not a big deal, it happens in the private industry all of the time. Filling an important position warrants time and energy. As long as those involved, work through the process in a professional manner, we will eventually fill the position with the most qualified candidate, best suited for the challenges of our town.

    Casting stones, pointing fingers, writing heinous comments in local paper do nothing to help us move forward.

    It seems we have a search committee willing to work to get the job done, ready to roll up their sleeves and get down to business.

    The finalist must pass muster of the Board of Selectmen and if they don't, it doesn't seem right to point the finger at board members. Maybe these candidates' baggage is over the weight limit!

    Keep positive and be patient and in the end we may all agree on a "best" candidate for TA.

  2. Sounds like the candidate pool leaves a bit much to be desired. Adjustments to the search criteria will need to be made, I am sure.


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