December 21, 2016
PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Peabody resident Sean Fitzgerald waits his turn to be interviewed for town administrator of Swampscott.
By GAYLA CAWLEY
SWAMPSCOTT — Sean Fitzgerald, town manager in Plaistow, N.H., has been selected as the new town administrator in Swampscott.
Fitzgerald, a Peabody resident, was selected after open interviews between the Board of Selectmen and the position’s three finalists on Wednesday night. The five-member board unanimously voted to extend him the job offer.
The other two finalists were Ryan Ferrara, assistant town administrator in Middleton, and Andrew Scribner-MacLean, assistant town administrator in Maynard.
Fitzgerald, a lifelong resident of the North Shore, said his mother grew up on Bay View Drive in Swampscott. Some of his fondest childhood memories, he said in his interview, were spent in the seaside town, going to areas such as Fisherman’s Beach.
His passion for the community, along with his town administrator experience, impressed the Selectmen. Board members said Fitzgerald was able to provide more specific answers to interview questions than the other two candidates. Questions included their thoughts on leadership style, how the candidates viewed success five years after potentially being hired and how they would slow the tax rate growth.
“They’re all qualified, but we need to find the best fit for our town,” said Laura Spathanas, board vice-chair. “I think Sean has a great energy … On top of the experience too, there’s just the knowledge of this area.”
Fitzgerald spent less than a week as town manager in Saugus last year. He was sworn in a day before a recall election that unseated four of the five members of the Saugus Board of Selectmen. His contract was voided a week later after the four new selectmen were sworn in. Saugus reinstated Town Manager Scott Crabtree, who had been fired by the previous board. Fitzgerald was reinstated in Plaistow.
Town officials have said previously that the start date for a new administrator is potentially mid-February. If Fitzgerald accepts the position, he would have 90 days to give notice to his employer.
Gino Cresta, department of public works director, has been serving as the interim town administrator since mid-October, when former Town Administrator Thomas Younger left for the same job in Stoneham. Town Accountant David Castellarin, who also serves as assistant town administrator, has been in charge of the budget during the interim tenure.
Gayla Cawley can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.