Local Government and Politics, News

A new town administrator emerges from a chaotic meeting in Nahant

NAHANT — Antonio Barletta, a Nahant resident, has been appointed the new town administrator.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in favor of selecting Barletta over runners-up Robert Curtin, assistant town administrator of Lynnfield, and Joseph Domelowicz, Jr., assistant town administrator of Winthrop.

“He’s a state worker who is familiar with our flooding issues,” said selectman Enzo Barile, who credited Barletta with the town’s successful involvement with the municipal vulnerability program, among other initiatives. “I want somebody from Nahant. I think it’s important. We’ve been through a lot of turmoil lately.”

“He’s young,” said Barile. “He’s in his 30s. He’ll be here for a while and that’s what we want.”

Barletta is the director of governmental affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. He previously worked as director of government affairs for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for two years.

In a public interview Tuesday night with sound issues that prevented much of the session to be heard by the large crowd in Town Hall, Barletta said he has dealt with more than 200 legislators in the State House and in the State Senate.

“I’m familiar with working with different personalities,” he said.

When asked why he should be chosen over two candidates who have experience working as assistant town administrators, Barletta said his state experience is transferable to the town level. He also has a Masters degree in public administration from the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

“I am from Nahant so I am very familiar with the issues that face this community and I’m very in tune with the personalities,” he said.

Interim Town Administrator Gerry Perry said a contract should be ready for Barletta Aug. 8. If so, Barletta said he could start Aug. 9.

Former Town Administrator Jeffrey Chelgren resigned in March, about two months after he filed a lawsuit in Lawrence Superior Court with several explosive charges, including discrimination and breach of contract. The lawsuit has since been settled.

Chelgren accepted the job in March 2015. His three-year contract was not set to expire until June 2018. Before his time in Nahant, Chelgren, of Lynn, served as the town administrator of Marblehead, where he resigned about four months before his three-year contract expired.

Perry, of Swampscott, became interim administrator when Chelgren resigned in March.

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