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swampscott

Selectmen name new town leader

Breadth of his job experience is cited

By David Rattigan
Globe Correspondent / March 11, 2012
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The Swampscott Board of Selectmen on Wednesday picked Thomas Younger as the new town administrator.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of Younger, the interim town manager in Ipswich, over Swampscott resident Gerard Perry, director of accounts at the state Department of Revenue.

Christopher Senior of Port Washington, N.Y., was a third finalist, culled from a group of about 50 candidates.

“I think it surprised a lot of people, but I truly believe we picked the best candidate,’’ said Board of Selectmen chairman Matthew Strauss, who cast the deciding vote. “There’s nothing against any of the other candidates. I said publicly that I could picture each one of them doing the job on a day-to-day basis. But for me it was the depth and breadth of prior experience - managerial experience, financial experience - that made me decide on Tom Younger.’’

After Strauss cast the deciding vote, the board voted a second time to make it unanimous, as a show of support.

Strauss said that he expected to conduct negotiations within a few days of the decision. The job was advertised with a salary range of $113,000 to $130,000.

Pending a successful negotiation, Younger will replace Andrew Maylor, who was town administrator for nine years until December 2011, when he left to become town manager in North Andover.

Dave Castellarin, Swampscott’s assistant town administrator, has been serving as interim town administrator since Maylor’s departure.

Younger, who holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University, has a long history in town and state government, most recently serving as town administrator in North Reading for 10 years and his hometown of Belmont for 6 1/2 years before taking the interim job in Ipswich in January.

Previously, he worked for nine years as property transactions manager for the state Division of Capital Planning and Operations, and he has also held municipal jobs in Oak Bluffs and Norton. He is president of the Massachusetts Municipal Managers Association.

“I’m very pleased that Swampscott chose me,’’ said Younger, who said that finding funding for local services will be a priority. “I’ll be working with the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, and Finance Committee on ways that we can increase funding for our schools, as well as other government programs such as roadway projects. Governmental aid is very important for all communities.’’

In recent months, he has been a finalist for town manager or administrator jobs in Hanover, Winchester, Marblehead and - ironically - North Andover, where he lost out to Maylor. Maylor, too, was a finalist in several town manager/administrator searches before landing in North Andover.

“Different communities have different needs and different expectations,’’ explained Younger. “You respect the reasoning why certain managers are selected. Each town has a different style, different attributes, what they’re looking for in a manager.’’

In addition to his position with the state Department of Revenue, Perry is a longtime Town Meeting member who has served on several volunteer committees. Selectmen David Van Dam and Richard Malagrifa cast votes for Perry, while Jill Sullivan, Barry Greenfield, and Strauss supported Younger.

“I went with Perry because of his passion for the town of Swampscott,’’ said Malagrifa, explaining his support of the hometown candidate. “We have a high tax rate, and he’s an expert in municipal finance.’’

Nonetheless, Malagrifa said he was satisfied with the choice, adding, “I wouldn’t have an issue with any of the three’’ finalists.

Younger’s biggest challenge, Malagrifa said, might be to live up to the standards set by his predecessor.

“He was a good town administrator, we liked him, and he was a real sharp guy,’’ Malagrifa said. “Tom’s got his work cut out for him. . . . He’s got a lot to live up to.’’

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