Barnstable Town Council Hires Ells as Next Town Manager

The town of Barnstable's table includes Assistant Town Manager Mark Ells, his wife Christina, and Town Manager Thomas Lynch.

CCB MEDIA FILE PHOTO: Assistant Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells, left, his wife, Christina, center, and outgoing Town Manager Tom Lynch at 2015 Pops By The Sea in Hyannis

HYANNIS – The Barnstable Town Council voted unanimously Saturday to hire current Assistant Town Manager Mark Ells as the next town manager when Tom Lynch leaves next month.

The decision came after the full council interviewed the four finalists for job. They quizzed the candidates on issues ranging from communication skills and fiscal policy to how they would deal with the ongoing opiate crisis.

The final four included Ells; Nicole Ard, former city manager in Sandusky, Ohio; Troy Clarkson, the town manager in Hanover, and Timothy King, current town manager in Westport.

Ells stressed his deep roots on Cape Cod, specifically in Barnstable, where has worked for 27 years in varying capacities, most recently as assistant town manager under Lynch.

Before that, he was Barnstable’s director of public works. Ells said his nearly 3 decades serving the town was a foundation for him to become the community’s top executive.

“I’ve been able to build the skills as a leader, as a decision maker, in communication and understanding of law both in our state and in our community, so that I can move forward with our community to address the many challenges and opportunities that we have,” said Ells.

Ard said she worked hard as a previous municipal leader to keep the community in the loop of information.

“Being able to make sure that we stay on task, communicating with not only the public and elected officials, but also with employees. I served as a public information officer as well,” Ard said.

She said it was important to use all forms of communication available to maintain transparency.

Ard said some of the communities she has served in the past had similar environmental issues to Barnstable, including water protection and coastline concerns.

Clarkson, who also served as a selectman in Falmouth, stressed his strong ties to Cape Cod during his interview.

After graduating from Boston College, he worked at the Otis Air National Guard base and said he has been firmly rooted in the community ever sense.

“My love and my roots on Cape Cod and my then introduction, and now career in local government really came together. Having served in elected capacity in Falmouth for many years, I really developed an affinity for local government” said Clarkson.

Clarkson said effective and open communication with elected officials and the public was critical for a town manager.

King, who also served as the top executive in Ellsworth, Maine for several years, said he leads by example and has the highest level of integrity.

“It’s required me to present myself in the form of both a leader to the people that I work with, to the people of the communities that I’ve worked in, to the city councils or boards of selectmen with which I’ve worked,” said King

He praised the current fiscal condition of Barnstable and said he would look forward to working with the town’s financial department.

The search process started with 15 candidates who were qualified for the position, but the Collins Center, through their own review, eliminated five of them.

Ten of the candidates were forwarded to the town for consideration and seven were invited after a review by the screening committee.

Current Town Manager Tom Lynch’s contract expires on June 30.

Lynch announced last September that he would not pursue a new deal after the town council launched a search for a new town manager.

Ells and town council will work out final details of a contract at a later date.

By MATT PITTA, JUSTIN SAUNDERS and ADAM FORZIATI, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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