DERRY — The process begins to find a new town administrator.
It’s been months since the town cut ties with former Derry administrator John Anderson. Town councilors are finally focusing on a potential list of what qualifications they want to see in his replacement.
Councilors met Jan. 28 to discuss that list.
“What we are trying to do is draw a picture,” acting town administrator Larry Budreau said. “Hiring someone is not an easy chore. The process can be very taxing.”
Budreau went over a long list of qualifications that might bring Derry the best possible candidate to take over as administrator.
That included education, track record and experience dealing with public and private sectors, community presence, success dealing with business owners and residents, management skills, personal attributes, and a drive to help the community grow and prosper.
He cautioned councilors to remain focused on the task and not bring any personal feelings about Anderson or his situation into the process that might cause the meeting to end up in a nonpublic forum.
The town officially severed its relationship with Anderson last October in the wake of indecent exposure and lewdness charges brought against him in August.
Anderson had been on administrative leave since July 12, a day after an alleged incident at his Lane Road home involving a satellite TV salesman.
Derry councilors were torn in the aftermath of the Anderson case, some saying it was best to hire an outside firm to conduct the search. Others wanted to keep the process in house to save taxpayers money.
Councilor Al Dimmock suggested holding off talk of a new town administrator until after the March elections when the council will have two new members.
“This is a very important issue,” he said. “Here we are saying what we want, but we’re only a partial council until after the election. We shouldn’t be meeting on this particular item.”
Councilors Neil Wetherbee and Brad Benson will not seek re-election.
But Budreau said it was time to get started and he hoped to attract a broad group of candidates who might want the Derry job.
It could take a long time.
“Nothing will begin to happen with hiring a town administrator for months,” Budreau said. “We planned it, we’ve put it off, we’ll have plenty of time once a new council sits. It would be a shame, in my opinion, to stall this process.”
Councilor Tom Cardon said the process was long overdue and should have started months ago.
One point councilors agreed on was whether the next administrator should be required to live in town. The consensus was that a new leader should not have to be a Derry resident.
“Where he or she lives is not going to matter,” Councilor Mark Osborne said.
Budreau said having a rated list of potential qualifications is a good beginning.
“We needed to get a sense of what kind of candidate we wanted,” he said. “And I’d like to keep the ball rolling.”
Councilors will continue the town administrator search discussion at a meeting Feb. 18.