LYNN — With unanimous approval from the City Council, Lynn Museum/LynnArts executive director Drew Russo was hired as the city’s new personnel director on Tuesday night.
Mayor Thomas M. McGee recommended Russo’s appointment, effective on Monday, May 13, and was approved following a public interview by the City Council’s personnel subcommittee.
The position has been vacant since the previous personnel director, Joseph Driscoll, retired last October.
Russo said he was “humbled” to be chosen, knowing that there were a number of other qualified candidates considered for the position.
“It’s an exciting time to be a Lynner,” Russo said. “We’re not without our challenges, but to have an opportunity to really be part of a good, strong, cohesive team that is really taking Lynn to the next level was just so exciting for me and I’m just honored to have the opportunity.”
A selection committee was organized to carry out the process, which included two rounds of interviews. There were a good group of candidates, but McGee said in a statement that Russo “emerged as the front runner” and was unanimously recommended by the selection committee.
“We are excited to bring Drew Russo on as the personnel director,” McGee said. “Drew has been active in the community and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this key position in City Hall. He will be a great addition to the administration and I look forward to working with him.”
Russo said it was “bittersweet” to be leaving his job as museum director, which he has held for four years, but was confident about Lynn Museum’s future, citing its committed Board of Trustees and efforts to build a solid fundraising structure.
He said he was interested in the personnel director position because he enjoys public service — he spent four years working for former U.S. Rep. John Tierney — and saw an opportunity to help the department transition to taking more of a human resources approach.
The hire comes after the City Council approved an ordinance earlier this year that reduced the base salary and stripped certain benefits away from the personnel director position.
The position was lowered from a Level 1-plus to a Level 1 department head, which lowered the position’s base salary by about $15,000.
Since Russo has a bachelor’s degree from Saint Michael’s College, he’ll receive a 20 percent educational incentive on top of an $87,596 base salary, which bumps his total salary to $105,115.
Despite the lower base, Russo will still be making more than the previous director, Driscoll, who didn’t have a college degree and retired with a salary of $103,000.
Because of the ordinance, Russo is entitled to contractual benefits provided to members of AFSCME Local 3147, but is not entitled to a monthly car allowance of $325 and years of governmental service outside the city will not be considered for longevity pay.