Gearreald Named Interim Town Manager

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By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, July 14, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

HAMPTON -- Attorney Mark Gearreald has been named interim town manager while Hampton begins the process of filling the post held by James Barrington for the last 9-1/2 years.

Barrington had announced at a selectmen's meeting two weeks ago that he would be resigning his seat effective August 25, 2006.

Appointed by the board of selectmen, Gearreald is scheduled to begin serving his temporary position at that time.

In order to begin the process, selectmen gave their approval to a $6000 professional recruitment agreement drawn up through the Local Government Center, formerly the New Hampshire Municipal Association.

That dollar amount would cover the cost of finding a new town manager, and is expected to include such expenses as advertising for the position, screening resumes, establishing an interview panel, scheduling interviews, and conducting reference checks.

Just over $3000 is budgeted to advertise the position through such venues as Web sites, newspapers and a newsletter distributed by the Washington, DC-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

At Monday night's meeting, Gearreald told the board a down payment check had already been prepared for delivery the following day.

Selectmen acknowledged that advertising the town manager position in some of the suggested newspapers would be a waste of money, however.

Instead, they agreed to pretty much limit advertising through sources connected with local government agencies, the Web, and the ICMA newsletter.

"That's where managers look," said Barrington, referring to the newsletter.

Gearreald told the board that he would arrange to meet the deadline for placing the advertisements.

"We need to get on that really quickly," he said.

With the selection process officially underway, Selectman Chairman Virginia Bridle-Russell advised the board to "Keep August and September light in your schedules, because [you're] probably going to be busy."

In other board business, Bill Bowley of the Hampton public works department voiced his concern regarding the current condition of Drakeside Road, where an unfinished "trench" is apparently the source of copious amounts of loose dirt and dust.

"That road is a horror," Bowley said, noting how one homeowner had to have her house powerwashed to remove the road dirt that had accumulated upon it. "It's not right."

He urged the board to invest $1000 to "put some hot top on and cover this mess up. These people should not have to live that way."

Bowley maintained that construction work in the area by local developer Tom Nigrelli appeared to be a factor with the road situation.

"I think this board should ask Mr. Nigrelli when he's going to hot top [that road]," added Bowley.

Selectman Bill Lally asked Town Manager James Barrington how soon a patch could be put on the problem.

Acknowledging that the actual cause is still not known or if there is "any blame to be fixed," Barrington said "if we asked him (Nigrelli) to hot top it, he probably would."

Barrington added that "ultimately we'll figure out who's responsible and they'll pay for it" to be corrected.

"All you gotta do is take a ride up there," said Bowley. "It's horrible."

With Selectman Rick Griffin noting "We need to take a position on this," the board collectively agreed that the matter needed immediate attention.

"Let's put down some patch and get rid of the dust," said Selectman James Workman.

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