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Lynn school board picks new business administrator

LYNN – The School Committee has spoken, and the final man standing in their hunt for a second School Business Administrator in less than a year is Kevin McHugh, ending a four-month search to finally replace the retiring Steven Upton.McHugh, 46, was chosen from a pool of eight finalists interviewed for the position this week, gaining the approval of the School Committee by a 5-2 vote Tuesday night.Superintendent Nicholas Kostan, stating that he did not want to compromise the current employment of the losing finalists, withheld the names of the other candidates under consideration.”I am looking forward to working my hardest and doing the best that I can to make this a very successful school department moving forward,” he said, speaking to the committee after the vote was tallied.Currently employed in the same position in Wilmington’s Public School System, the Lowell resident has experience with the area, spending five years at the turn of the century as Assistant to the Superintendent of Peabody Public Schools.While working that position, McHugh adjusted to some instability in the city by performing a variety of tasks at different times, including Business Manager and Facilities Manager, work that he says prepared him for the road ahead.”That was a great experience for me, I learned so much doing a lot of different jobs,” he said. “I had a great time working with that city and that community, and I look at this as the next step for me. I really enjoy this area, and I enjoy the city atmosphere.”Now that the Committee has nominated him, McHugh still must negotiate a contract and give notice to his employers in Wilmington. He said he hopes to get that process going soon, and begin working on a smooth transition with Upton, who is the part-time acting Business Administrator.There is not an official timetable for his first day on the job, but McHugh said he would like to ease into the position in time to begin budget season “from the ground up.”With the challenging and tight school budget his largest task, McHugh is confident he can help the district through the tough fiscal times it may be facing ahead, noting that chapter 70 funds will also be a large part of his focus.Upton retired earlier this year after 36 years within the department, and was replaced by William Bochnak, former Deputy Chief of Staff of Mayor Edward J. Clancy Jr.Bochnak was handed an interim label, but resigned from the post less than a month into the job to take a spot with the city’s Economic Industrial and Development Corp., forcing Upton to put his retirement on hold, and moonlight as a part-time School Business Administrator while the committee once again searched for a permanent successor.Upton played a role, along with Kostan and the School Committee, in selecting the eight finalists, all of whom were interviewed this week in anticipation for an appointment at Tuesday night’s meeting.

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