New Castle council takes its time in search for town administrator
NEW CASTLE – It’s been nearly a month since the town’s administrator, David Blanchard, resigned from his position, but the town is still without applicants to fill the job.”Council hasn’t been in a hurry to find an administrator and we haven’t advertised for it,” said Mayor Frank Breslin. “We have a lot of things we’re going through that we need to do internally.”Both Breslin and longtime councilor Bob Gordon say that instead of actively searching for a new administrator, the town council has been focusing on restructuring the operations of the town and getting more involved in town committees.”The council is eager to get the committee structure assembled again and get more heavily involved,” Breslin said. “Instead of dealing with emergencies all the time, we’re trying to be more proactive and communicate and get every bit of expertise involved. And we’re doing staff development so people within the departments become better managers. We’re developing a whole system. We can’t continue to do things the way they were being done. The town is getting too big.”According to Breslin, New Castle’s population is now around 3,400 – double what it was seven years ago.Under the new town structure, three council members will serve on each of the various committees, which include public works, public safety, cemetery, finance, personnel, senior housing, recreation, tree, and the parks/open space/trails development committee. The committees meet on alternate weeks of the regular town council meetings, which are held the first and third Tuesdays of the month.”It’s pretty good that we’re getting back into our committees and everybody is getting more familiar with the town,” Gordon said. “We’ve got a lot of issues we’ve been working on.”Blanchard left his position in late August after less than a year and a half on the job, citing a family situation and not being able to find suitable housing. He replaced longtime former mayor and town administrator Steve Rippy, who retired from the position in early 2006.Still, Breslin doesn’t really have an answer for the continued vacancy and lack of advertising for a new town administrator, whose duties have now fallen to him and other key town staff. He says he’s puzzled as to why nothing has been done.”I have no answer as to why council is dragging their feet,” he said. “But I anticipate we’ll put an ad out sometime soon.”Gordon said he isn’t worried about it and thinks the town council’s focus right now is a good thing.”We will get back to the administrator situation, but we’ve been so busy we haven’t gotten to it,” Gordon said. “The town board is getting more meetings than they had because there were a lot of committees we weren’t up on. But it’s a good thing, actually.”
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