Mr. Lynch Sought Two-Year Contract As Town Manager

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By: James Kinsella
Published: 06/22/12

This past spring, Thomas K. Lynch, who was appointed town manager for the Town of Barnstable on June 8, let Barnstable town councilors know he would not accept any contract shorter than two years.

That and other details about how the Barnstable Town Council came to offer a two-year contract to Mr. Lynch starting June 17 are included in notes taken at council executive session meetings on May 10 and June 7.

The council voted 9-2 last night to release minutes from the May 10 executive session, with town councilors Ann B. Canedy of Cummaquid and Debra Dagwan of Hyannis dissenting; and they voted 10-0-1 to release minutes from the June 7 meeting, with Ms. Canedy abstaining.

Ms. Canedy later stated she voted “no” on the release of the May 10 minutes because she believes they are incomplete, and abstained from release of the June 7 minutes because her recollection of what occurred in that session was not reflected in those minutes.

Ms. Dagwan, who was a member of the town manager search subcommittee, has said in the past that the committee had already put time into the search and should continue that process.

The official minutes were not immediately available last night, but The Barnstable Enterprise was provided with a copy of notes taken at the meetings by Barnstable Town Clerk Linda E. Hutchenrider.

The council initially had voted to conduct a national search for a town manager, with Mr. Lynch, who had been appointed interim and then acting town manager following the departure of former town manager John C. Klimm, filling the top spot in the meantime.

But notes from the May 10 closed-door meeting indicate that Mr. Lynch let the council know he needed to make a decision on whether to apply for the job of manager.

The town charter would have prevented the council from appointing Mr. Lynch after June 15 to another 90-day stint as acting town manager.

Town Councilor Thomas Rugo of Centerville, who headed a subcommittee charged with negotiating with Mr. Lynch on a contract to serve as town manager while the search was underway, let the full council know at the May 10 meeting that he believed Mr. Lynch would take the job if the term were for two years.

Following a motion by Town Councilor Michael P. Hersey of Hyannis, the council then voted 9-2, with Ms. Canedy and town councilor James Cote of Osterville dissenting, to offer a two-year contract to Mr. Lynch with a salary to be determined.

Ms. Canedy said her vote was not against the quality of Mr. Lynch’s work, but the length of the term.

Mr. Cote said his vote reflected the belief that the process, which had started with the idea of a national search, had gone off-course.

A subsequent motion by Ms. Canedy to offer Mr. Lynch a one-year contract failed 7-4.

According to the notes, later in the meeting, the council learned that “it was confirmed that if Lynch took the two-year contract he would be done in two years.”

At that point, the council would need to have another town manager in place to replace Mr. Lynch, who is 66 years old.

In public session last night, the town council completed its work on the $155.6 million operating budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, approving a series of department budgets with unanimous votes.

At the June 7 meeting, the council had approved the operating budgets of a number of major departments, including the Barnstable public schools and the police department.

The budget essentially is flat with the current fiscal year’s budget.

During last night’s budget discussions, Ms. Canedy questioned when the Hyannis Youth & Community Center, which operates as an enterprise fund, was going to become more self-supporting.

In its $2.8 million budget, the center is slated to receive $1.4 million from the town’s capital trust fund, and $60,000 from the general fund.

But other town councilors said the center offers non-monetary social benefits to the community, and has benefited the local economy through visitors who use the center.

Lynne Poyant, director of community services, said the center was not fully slated to meet its debt obligation until its 18th year of operation. The center opened in 2009.

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