Two heads better than one in Swampscott

Gino Cresta, left, and Ronald Mendes have both been appointed assistant town administrators.


SWAMPSCOTT — One resignation at Town Hall has prompted the promotion of two other officials to assistant town administrators.

Former Town Accountant and Assistant Town Administrator David Castellarin resigned earlier this month for personal reasons. He had been out on medical leave since the beginning of March, and his resignation was effective April 18, according to Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald.

A search for a new town accountant is underway and the position will be advertised this week. Starting salary for the position will be $80,000, and will be dependent on qualifications, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald, as part of his plan to improve the delivery of municipal services and the administration of town financial functions, has promoted Gino Cresta, department of public works (DPW) director for 14 years, to the position of assistant town administrator for operations and Ronald Mendes, town treasurer/collector, to the position of assistant town administrator for administration.

Both men will also remain in their current roles. Cresta’s salary will be bumped from $101,225 to $115,000, and Mendes will see a raise from $78,250 to $101,000.

“Gino has a familiarity with the town that is really extraordinary,” Fitzgerald said. “He has served most recently as the interim town administrator, but he has been really indispensable from any vantage point. I think he’ll continue to grow and continue to contribute at high levels.”

Cresta served as interim town administrator for five months, while a search for a permanent town administrator was underway, which eventually led to the hiring of Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said Mendes has less tenure and time with the town, but “has a tremendous background in municipal finance, that “gives him the ability to support some of the higher level financial analysis and leadership that we’re looking to achieve over the next few months to years.

“Swampscott is poised to do some really great things with these two individuals in leadership roles,” Fitzgerald said.

As assistant town administrator for operations, Cresta will be managing Swampscott’s day-to-day operations and long-term strategy for capital improvements for the town, in addition to his role overseeing the DPW. He has an engineering degree from Merrimack College.

Cresta, a Swampscott resident, said when he graduated, he worked for his family’s construction company, and started with the town in 2003 as assistant engineer for five months, before he was appointed DPW director. He has been married for 27 years and has three children.

“I’m honored that both the town administrator and the board of selectmen have put their trust in me and I’m looking forward to working with Sean Fitzgerald, as I believe he will be a tremendous asset to this town,” Cresta said. “Additionally, I’m looking forward to any new challenges this position may present.”

As assistant town administrator for administration, Mendes will continue in his current role as treasurer/collector and will also be leading all of the town’s financial services and supporting many of the evolving administrative duties of the town. Mendes said he would take on additional duties that Fitzgerald and the selectmen assign, such as budget development and capital plan development.

Mendes, a Lynn resident, has a degree in finance from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and a law degree from the Massachusetts School of Law. He has more than 15 years of experience in municipal finance. Before his three years with the town, Mendes said he was the DPW business manager for the city of Newton and treasurer for the city of Wilmington before that. He has been an attorney for 11 years, but said his career is in municipal finance.

“I’m honored actually that Sean (Fitzgerald) is recognizing my ability to serve,” Mendes said. “I’m excited by the challenge and I just can’t wait to get to work.”

The Board of Selectmen approved the promotions on Wednesday night.

“We are excited to support these personnel changes,” Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said in a statement. “Swampscott has a great team of dedicated staff and their experience will be extremely valuable as we look to the future.”

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

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