Three finalists to be considered for Southampton town administrator job
SOUTHAMPTON — The three finalists for the long-vacant town administrator job are Michael A. Szlosek of Ludlow, William M. Manzi III of Methuen and Craig J. Kleman of Portsmouth, N.H.
The Select Board will publicly interview each finalist from the pool of 19 applicants in the coming weeks, said member Edward J. Cauley. He was also a member of the screening committee that recommended the three from the seven it interviewed.
“They are very good candidates,” Cauley said. “We based our decision on their interviews, their experience, their education and how we thought they could come and make a difference for Southampton.”
All three candidates hold master’s degrees and Szlosek also has a graduate law degree.
Manzi was a three-term mayor of Methuen from 2006 until he reached the three-term limit in 2011, and worked in the private sector before that. He ran unsuccessfully for the 1st Essex District Senate seat last fall but said his “heart is really in municipal government.”
In a phone interview Wednesday, Manzi said he became acquainted with Southampton when he was an undergraduate student at UMass Amherst.
“I think Southampton is a beautiful community and it seems like a wonderful place to work,” he said.
Manzi, who said he hadn’t been notified that he was a finalist, said he developed six municipal budgets in Methuen without cutting services or jobs, even during tough economic times.
“I think it shows I have a strong record with budgeting,” he said. “A building block of good government is working to be sure finances are well done and you have a solid financial base.”
Cauley said the screening committee was pleased to pull a former mayor as an applicant. “He has a lot of government and accounting experience and he was really professional in his interview,” Cauley said. “He knows what he’s talking about.”
Szlosek, town manager in Athol, previously worked as town manager in Uxbridge and town administrator in South Hadley and Ludlow. In Ludlow, he is a member of the Finance Committee and Zoning Board of Appeals.
Cauley said Szlosek’s professional experience, as well as his service on volunteer boards, recommended him for the job. “He’s a good candidate,” Cauley said.
Szlosek wrote in his cover letter that he was “primarily responsible” for preparing the budgets in Athol, Uxbridge and Ludlow when he worked there. And as an attorney, he is experienced in negotiations and labor law, he said. “During my tenure in Ludlow, Uxbridge and Athol I have been responsible for the negotiation of all municipal labor contracts,” he wrote.
Kleman has served as town administrator or interim town administrator in numerous towns around New England, most recently in Becket, and before that in Merrimac; East Montpelier and Lyndon, Vt.; and Atkinson, Plaistow, Seabrook and Epping, N.H.
In his cover letter, Kleman said he had strong skills in grant writing, developing budgets and managing personnel. He also said he has worked on a number of large projects over the years, including constructing a fire station in East Montpelier and wastewater treatment plant upgrades and water and sewer expansion in Epping, N.H.
“He’s worked in several small towns so he’s very familiar with small town government,” Cauley said.
Szlosek and Klemen could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.