Hanover hires Raftelis consulting firm to manage search for new town manager

The Selectboard plans to make an offer to the chosen candidate in early May, Hanover Selectboard member Bill Geraghty said.

by Frank Blackburn | 3/8/22 5:00am

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by Hannah Li / The Dartmouth

Last October, Hanover town manager Julia Griffin announced her intention to retire in spring 2022, and the town has since then hired consulting firm Raftelis to conduct a nationwide search.  According to Hanover Selectboard member Bill Geraghty, who is heading the search for Griffin’s replacement, the Selectboard hopes to hire a replacement by early May. 

Geraghty said he sent a survey to the Hanover community in November to ask town members about the qualities they are looking for in a new town manager and what the manager’s top priorities should be. A series of focus groups with members of the community was also conducted in November, he said. 

According to Geraghty, the town began to advertise the position in early January. He added that Catherine Parrish, the consultant from Raftelis working with the Selectboard, began reviewing applications on Feb. 16 and will share her thoughts on candidates with the Selectboard this week. 

After this conversation, the Selectboard will choose candidates to interview virtually, Geraghty said. They will then choose finalists to visit Hanover in person in early April 2022. After these visits, he said that the Selectboard plans to make an offer to the chosen candidate in early May.

Geraghty added that the search process is currently going according to plan. 

“We’ve set up a timeline, we’re managing it [and] we’re on time at the moment,” Geraghty said. “We’re going to do the best we can. You can’t control every variable, but we’re doing okay so far. As we work our way through the process we’ll keep the community informed.”

Geraghty added that the Selectboard will review all of the applications, but Raftelis will order them based on their qualifications. According to Geraghty, one factor the town has chosen to prioritize is a candidate’s willingness to remain town manager for a long period of time. 

“We don’t expect them to stay 25 years, but [we don’t want] someone who is just coming in and leaving [quickly],” Geraghty said.

According to the town’s recruitment brochure, the minimum qualifications for candidates are a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of experience working in a supervisory capacity in town government. The brochure also lists the Selectboard’s five main priorities: implementing a sustainable master planning process; encouraging post COVID-19 recovery for the town and continued downtown vibrancy; developing a technology needs assessment for the town in concert with department directors; engaging with regional partners and state initiatives that support housing affordability, renewable energy and climate change resiliency; and preparing the town to utilize federal resources for infrastructure and broadband.

When asked about student involvement in the search, David Millman ’23 said that the town met with him and other members of student government last fall, but they haven’t heard from the town since then. 

“I am happy that [the town] included [students] in the beginning, but I hope that it continues,” Millman said. 

He added that he believes that the top priority for the town should be the development of more student housing in conjunction with the College, and that the town should work to include student voices in town management. 

“Some of the town master plan committee meetings were during December when no students were on campus, so making sure that those aren’t placed during breaks and maybe even a student-specific forum [would be helpful],” Millman said.

Traditionally Trendy owner Rocio Menoscal said that the only improvement she could suggest for future town management was to improve the availability of parking in town. 

“I think we have a good town manager — they never interfere with business, which is good,” Menoscal said. “I don’t know how they can make this place better. I think it’s okay.”

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