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April 24, 2014

Council won't reveal administrator candidates

Town receives interest from 38 candidates for town administrator

DERRY — Councilors will soon be taking a pledge, a pledge not to reveal the candidates for town administrator.

As a replacement is sought for John Anderson, the council has decided the names will be kept secret, possibly until the finalist is named, Council Chairman Mark Osborne said.

That’s to protect the applicants’ privacy and to avoid discouraging well-qualified prospective candidates from seeking the position, he said.

The town has received 38 applications for the job since advertisements were posted three weeks ago, Osborne said. The deadline to apply is June 1.

Osborne said the public’s right to know shouldn’t supersede the need to protect candidates’ privacy. They could lose their jobs if employers learned they were seeking other employment, he said.

“We want to tell the candidates, ‘We respect your privacy,”’ Osborne said.

The Town Council will be taking the unique step of requiring its members to sign their names to a pledge — promising not to reveal any information about the candidates.

“That’s going to be signed soon,” Osborne said. “I think it’s important that it be done.”

Requiring councilors to sign a pledge will help preserve the integrity of an important process, he said.

“If that’s going to raise the bar, then I think it should be done,” Osborne said.

He said the council also will consider not releasing the finalists’ names. Communities usually do not reveal the names of candidates until several finalists are chosen.

“That’s something we haven’t talked about yet,” he said. “Those last five or three are entitled to just as much privacy as the other 38.”

Fellow councilors agreed with Osborne that to get the best possible applicants for the job, candidates’ names and resumes must not be divulged.

“We must respect the candidates’ privacy,” Councilor Tom Cardon said.

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