By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — The search for the town’s new manager is nearing its end.
Officials are now in the last part of the process to choose Londonderry’s new leader. A final group of candidates remains on the short list for the job.
The remaining candidates will go through a second interview process by next week and a new manager could be announced soon after, according to Acting Town Manager William Hart, who is also the town’s police chief.
Hart has handled the dual roles since last July after previous town manager David Caron left the job.
He said the current field of candidates is highly qualified.
“This group brings some strong skill sets to the town,” Hart said.
The process to choose a new leader has taken time.
In February, the Town Council had chosen a top candidate as manager after a round of interviews, but that person decided to take another job elsewhere.
The job was advertised once again and a new process began.
Hart said he is looking forward to having a new manager in place. He also said he appreciates all the support the town has given him during his time in the job.
“I am delighted to have been able to help this community,” he said. “I have come to call (at least professionally) Londonderry home.”
Londonderry also has a vacancy for its Senior Affairs Director, left empty with the departure of Stacy Thrall in May.
Hart said the town’s Human Resources Department is going over those applications and this time around more input from the senior citizens who use the senior center was taken into consideration as to what type of director they would like.
“We changed the process a bit this time,” Hart said. “We involved them dramatically (to help) make a recommendation.”
Londonderry’s interim fire Chief Darren O’Brien is also doing a great job, Hart said, but he would not comment further on the status of securing a permanent fire chief at this time.
O’Brien replaced Chief Kevin MacCaffrie, who retired in March. O’Brien, 47, has served Londonderry’s fire department since he was 19.
“Chief O’Brien has done an outstanding job since he’s taken on the mantle of leadership,” Hart said.
The town also recently lost its longtime town clerk. Meg Seymour stepped down from her post June 28 after serving for almost 14 years.
Deputy Town Clerk Kathleen Donnelly, by state law, takes over that job until the Town Council appoints a replacement who would hold the office until the next town election in March 2014.