Amherst Select Board review of Town Manager John Musante this evening
As expected the Select Board annual review of Town Manager John Musante, our highest ranking but only second highest paid town employee, was a cordial affair with fiscal matters garnering across the board highest "commendable" ratings from all five SB members.
But a dark cloud or two appeared on the otherwise sunny landscape with the issue of dealing with the town's surplus buildings garnering "unsatisfactory" rating from Alisa Brewer, Diana Stein, and Aaron Hayden while the other two checked off "needs improvement".
But when referencing things that need improvement SB Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe was quick to remind the board that overall the review was "overwhelmingly positive."
The only other "unsatisfactory" rating came from Alisa Brewer for communication issues, like reading things in the newspapers before the board has been apprised about an issue.
Alisa Brewer: Most critical but also most effusive
She mentions "dropping the ball" with the "Blarney Blowout" where things were reported as going well in the downtown that Saturday, but all hell broke loose in North Amherst -- not that the newspapers figured that out very quickly.
This year’s Blarney Blowout revelers well-behaved in #Amherst | http://t.co/vbA6g9aKxs #westernma
— GazetteNET (@gazettenet) March 11, 2013
And the recent Rental Bylaw Implementation Group was announced on the pages of the Daily Hampshire Gazette before the Select Board was informed (maybe the Town Manager figures they no longer read the Gazette).
Town Manager speaking to Town Meeting in favor of Rental Registration Bylaw
The Town Manager also received high marks for his relations with the Select Board and Town Meeting, with three SB members giving him across the board highest rating and O'Keeffe and Brewer looking for improvement.
Other areas that need improvement are communications with the general public and lower echelon (non management level) town employees. Staff morale -- especially in the fire department and DPW -- could also be better.
The handling of housing issues, what many believe to be the #1 problem facing Amherst today, also garnered the concern of the Select Board. Especially affordable housing.
The about-to-occur loss of Rolling Green's 204 apartment units from the town's Subsidized Housing Inventory is pretty much a disaster.