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Official: Decision on new Franklin city manager expected next month

  • Franklin mayor-elect Tony Giunta talks about the future of Franklin from his home in Franklin on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz



Monitor staff
Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Tony Giunta will be stepping into his role as mayor of Franklin this month – but the city will likely not see a new manager until at least February.

The hope was that the city manager position would be filled before newly elected officials like Giunta started in January, but the process was delayed, said Finance Director Judie Milner, who is interim city manager in Elizabeth Dragon’s absence.

Milner has been filling in as city manager since September, when Dragon left to become city manager of Keene.

Milner said the city council has selected four candidates to undergo closed interviews that will take place over the next month. The council’s final decision will likely be announced in February after the hiring process is finalized.

The city council hired an Atlanta-based consulting firm, The Mercer Group, to find and weed through candidates. A nationwide search with a special focus on candidates from New England rendered 28 applications, Milner said.

In filling Dragon’s position, Milner was the second interim fill-in for a prominent position in the city’s government over the past six months. Scott Clarenbach was appointed interim mayor in May after then-Mayor Ken Merrifield was tapped to become the state’s labor commissioner.

Franklin’s new city manager will inherit the city’s various revitalization projects – many pioneered by Dragon, who was city manager for nine years. Some of those projects include developing a white-water paddling park and completing facade improvements to buildings owned by revitalization-focused nonprofit PermaCityLife.

One major project – the city’s CATCH affordable housing units – were recently unveiled in November. The housing project involved the conversion of the long-empty Franklin Mill into one- and two-bedroom apartments that will rent for under $900 a month. The first tenants were expected to move in before the end of last year.

Milner said she feels confident in the leaders running the city, despite turnover in some top positions. She said department heads like herself have mostly stayed the same, and that they will be able to work with new hires to keep moving the city forward.

“All good things are happening at the city right now,” she said.

 

(Leah Willingham can be reached at 369-3322, lwillingham@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @LeahMWillingham.)