north attleboro town hall building

North Attleboro Town Hall

NORTH ATTLEBORO — A new town manager will cost taxpayers between $150,000 and $205,000 a year in salary, according to the estimates of five search firms.

One firm said the town would be unable to get quality candidates for under $160,000.

The firms have submitted proposals to help the town council hire a town manager to run the government under the new charter adopted by voters.

The charter was approved in April and took effect July 1. It gives the town manager far-reaching authority over budgeting, hiring, firing and other administrative tasks.

A subcommittee of the council headed by President Keith Lapointe has solicited and received proposals from firms that are willing to seek applications for the town manager’s job, vet their backgrounds and help narrow the field.

In their proposals the firms estimate what salary level a well qualified candidate for manager would want.

Each firm came up with slightly different estimates, but they range from $150,000 to $205,000.

Lapointe said he was expecting the salary to be about $180,000 to $200,000.

The estimates are roughly in line with what other area town managers are making.

William Keegan in Foxboro, one of the highest paid, recently got a raise to $202,000. Acting North Attleboro Town Manager Michael Gallagher makes $160,000.

The five firms vying to help North Attleboro with its search are Municipal Resources of New Hampshire, Groux White Consulting of Lexington, GovHR of Illinois, Community Paradigm Associates of Plymouth and Collins Center of Boston.

Community Paradigm had the lowest bid at $8,400 for its services and GovHR was the highest at $14,000, including $5,000 in travel costs.

During an early morning meeting of the subcommittee Thursday, Lapointe and members Michael Lennox and Darius Gregory said they prefer Municipal Resources, Groux White and Community Paradigm.

Town human resources director Cathy Calicchia also prefers Community Paradigm, Lapointe said.

Along with being the least expensive, Lapointe said Community Paradigm was the most specific about including townspeople in the search process.

The subcommittee voted to advance its recommendation to the full council, with a decision scheduled for Aug. 26. A contract could be approved on Sept. 11.

The firms said it would take between 12 and 18 weeks to conduct the search and hire a town manager.

Gallagher, who was the town administrator under the old form of government, has been the acting town manager since the charter took effect.

He has not said publicly if he intends to apply for the job. Former selectman and town administrator Mark Fisher has said he plans to apply.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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