Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald. (File Photo | Bob Roche)
Local Government and Politics, News

Swampscott selectmen like what they see in Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald

SWAMPSCOTT -- Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald has received high marks from the Board of Selectmen more than a year into his tenure.

"In his first year as Swampscott's town administrator, Sean has demonstrated to the board an unprecedented work ethic and enthusiasm," wrote Peter Spellios, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, in the board's annual evaluation.

"The eagerness, energy, and commitment to town government demonstrated during Sean's interview process has extended without pause or disappointment to the manner in which Sean undertakes his responsibilities on a daily basis. Simply stated, Swampscott is better as a result of Sean's leadership."

Fitzgerald, a Peabody resident, started his tenure with the town in February 2017 -- he signed a four-year contract, which shows that his salary is scheduled to increase from $129,800 to $131,100 on July 1. He's set to make $132,400 in the final year of his contract, which expires June 30, 2020.

Spellios wrote that the board has been impressed with Fitzgerald's knowledge of municipal government and has been particularly pleased with the discipline and focus he has brought to Swampscott's municipal finances.

For instance, he said Fitzgerald and his financial team have provided significant transparency to the annual town budget, and have provided the board, Finance Committee and Town Meeting with an "unprecedented amount of financial analysis and reporting," which ensures the proper administration of town finances.

The board also praised Fitzgerald's strong personnel hires and restructuring in Town Hall over the past year. Gino Cresta, department of public works director, and Ronald Mendes, town treasurer, were both promoted to assistant town administrators and Cheryl Herrick-Stella was hired as town accountant.

Julie DeLillo was recently hired as joint human resources director between the town and school department and will start on July 16. DeLillo has an extensive background as a human resources director, but also has a law degree, Fitzgerald said.

"Hiring strong people is a clear sign of strong leadership," Spellios wrote.

Also highlighted in the evaluation was Fitzgerald's efforts to strengthen the town's relationship with the School Committee, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis and the school department's business office; to stay on top of grant and governmental funding opportunities for town projects; and his initiative to consolidate the veterans' services department with the city of Lynn following the retirement of the town's long-time veterans agent, Jim Schultz.

Change and successes in town government over the past year highlighted in the evaluation include a new budgeting process, capital plan, the completion of negotiations for five collective bargaining agreements, the start of the rail trail and significant personnel changes and town hall reorganization.

"The Board of Selectmen is very satisfied with Sean's performance and is very optimistic about the success and future of Swampscott under his leadership," reads the evaluation. "Sean has exceeded expectations in virtually every category."

"We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Sean and working with him and the entire professional and volunteer town government to continue the significant progress made over the past year."

The evaluation outlined that the board and Fitzgerald would be working throughout the summer on shared goals, including the ongoing implementation of financial and personnel policies and increasing the efficiency of town government.

Fitzgerald said the goals discussed in the working sessions will center around the important fiduciary responsibilities facing the town, which will be part of a broader discussion on some of the big projects in town, but also some of the long-term financial sustainability for Swampscott.

"It's really helpful to get some constructive feedback and I really feel like I work with an incredible cadre of dedicated department heads and elected officials," Fitzgerald said.

"Swampscott really has a great team of town employees that really work hard every day and frankly, a lot of the positive work that has occurred over the past year has been based on teamwork and a shared sense of responsibility that town employees and elected officials share. I'm excited about the work ahead and feel encouraged to be working with such a great group of municipal leaders."


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