Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Marmer mum on town administrator candidate's name

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
May 22, 2006

VERNON - Mayor Ellen L. Marmer has selected who she wants to succeed Town Administrator Laurence R. Shaffer when he departs next month, but for now won't say publicly who he is.

While she wouldn't identify the candidate, Marmer said both his credentials and references impressed her.

The name of the new administrator could be revealed on June 6, when the Town Council is scheduled to vote on the hire.

While she was mum on the new hire's identity and specific job qualifications, Marmer said the new administrator is from the region.

If all goes well, the new administrator would start on June 19, allowing for a two-week transition period between administrators.

Shaffer is scheduled to leave the town at the end of June to take over as town manager in Amherst, Mass.

From the beginning of the search process, Marmer has said she wanted to see the new administrator start his new job before Shaffer's departure.

"I think we have a wonderful person and I am very excited," said Marmer, who added that the town is in the process of completing background and credit checks on the new hire. "Everything is just about complete - we're just waiting for a few of the checks to come back."

Marmer said the town also has wrapped up negotiations on an employment contract for the new administrator.

In advertising the administrator's position, town officials said the new hire's salary would be between $100,000 and $120,000.

Shaffer's salary is $106,597.

The process of finding a new administrator began during the winter when Amherst officials selected Shaffer to become that town's manager.

Since that time, the town has solicited job applicants in several regional newspapers and trade publications.

Nearly 50 people responded to those advertisements.

A search committee comprised of Finance Officer James Luddecke, Human Resources Director Daniel Sullivan, Town Council members Jason L. McCoy and Marie Herbst, a local resident, and a South Windsor town official reviewed the applications.

Members of the search committee conducted several interviews, and four finalists came to town this month to answer questions from Marmer and department heads.

If a replacement wasn't in place before Shaffer's departure, Luddecke would have handled the administrator's duties on an interim basis.

Depending on the outcome of a June 6 budget referendum, the new administrator could find himself starting his new job with the town in a precarious financial situation.

If a budget is not in place by June 30 - the end of the current fiscal year - the Town Council may be forced to adopt a mill rate absent a budget and pass emergency spending bills which would cover town expenses until a permanent 2006-07 budget is approved by voters.

Marmer said the new administrator is well aware of the possible budget turmoil he will be entering.

"He's willing to step up to the challenge," Marmer said. "I hope by the time he starts, we will have a budget."

©Journal Inquirer 2006