Yarmouth Town Meeting Voters Reject Money For New Town Administrator Search

KA_Yarmouth_Town Hall_04_120215YARMOUTH – The lingering deadlock over who will become the next Yarmouth town administrator landed on the town meeting floor Saturday morning with the first article up for debate.

It sought $20,000 to fund another search because the Board of Selectmen has been unable to get a required 4/5 majority to hire Peter Johnson-Staub, the current assistant town administrator.

It was overwhelmingly defeated, leaving the issue still in limbo.

On several occasions, the board has voted 3-2 to hire Johnson-Staub, with Selectmen Michael Stone and James Quirk opposed. Under the town charter, 4 out of 5 selectmen must approve the hiring of a new town administrator.

Because of the impasse, selectmen needed town meeting approval to spend $20,000 if they move forward with conducting another search. The other finalist, John Salamone of Connecticut, withdrew his name from consideration.

During floor debate, several residents said Johnson-Staub had served the town well and should get the job. They said conducting another search would be a waste of town money.

“We call on our selectmen to use common sense in following the guidance that has been given to them by our charter,” said resident Tom Bartha, who supported the hiring of Johnson-Staub.

Others said it was important to get the best possible candidate for the town’s top job, and another search should be conducted.

“The qualifications of the alternate applicant far exceeded Peter Johnson-Staub’s qualifications, and that was the issue that was brought up, nothing negative about Mr. Johnson-Staub,” said David Howard, who supported spending the money for another search.

Johnson-Staub has held his position in Yarmouth for more than 15 years and served as the interim town administrator in 2010.

It was unclear exactly how selectmen would move forward in a future search, but Selectman Chairman Erik Tolley said they had about $6,000 that could be spent without additional voter approval.

Johnson-Staub is only allowed to serve as interim administrator for a limited amount of time before the town is required to fill the job permanently.

In other action Yarmouth town meeting voters easily approved the Fiscal Year 2017 operating budget of just over $90 million Saturday.

An effort to regulate motorcycle noise in town failed to be seconded in two separate articles, and therefore failed.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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