Town Will Stick With A Full-Time Marina Manager
By: Diana T. Barth
Can the town somehow save money in the way it manages it marinas?
The answer this week: not really.
This question (and answer) came up this week while selectmen discussed filling the now vacant town marina manager’s post -- a vacancy created by the recent retirement of Robert E. Dawley, who held the position for the past eight years.
Selectmen looked at hiring a seasonal manager and discussed the idea of reducing the marina manager’s duties and combining them with the efforts of a proposed town facilities manager, all in the interest of saving money. They ended up, however, voting to keep a full-time marina head on board.
That new marina manager, however, would start at the bottom rung of the pay scale set for the position. That would translate into about $55,000 annually, a savings of about $14,200 over the pay earned by Mr. Dawley, who had reached a higher step on that scale.
Before reaching that point, however, selectmen reviewed a report written by Troye Thompson, Bourne’s human resources director.
Asked to determine whether the marina manager’s position could effectively be combined with that of a facilities manager, Ms. Thompson determined it could not.
She recommended a full-time marina manager, saying such a manager needed to know all about different kinds of boats, from the amount of water they draw to their stability, anchoring systems, and communications equipment. That manager, she said, is as much a hospitality industry manager as an operations manager, someone who needs to make people happy.
A facilities manager, in contrast, helps operate buildings efficiently.
The bottom line, selectmen heard, was the town’s marinas have generated, on average, a total of $1.1 million per year, an income stream that would be jeopardized if a full-time manager was not in place.
Shore and harbor committee Chairman Richard F. Libin sent a letter to selectmen on his committee’s behalf praising the “outstanding” work of Mr. Dawley. Members of that committee voted unanimously to support the idea of keeping a full-time person dedicated solely to the management of three town marinas.
Members said that that committee’s recently completed privatization study, which concluded that the town should keep control of its marina facilities, emphasized the need to maintain staffing levels.
They rejected the idea of the job on a seasonal level, writing that, “the success of next season’s operations is in large part based on winter planning and preparation.”
They advocated the quick hiring of a replacement for Mr. Dawley, saying, “Without this key management person in place, the three marinas will suffer a loss of income to the Town of Bourne.”
Selectman John A. Ford Jr. raised the idea of having a seasonal manager, and hiring a secretary to handle slip renewals and other paperwork in the winter.
Department of Natural Resources Director Timothy W. Mullen stood to say that such duties would require specialized knowledge of boat maneuverability and slip size and placement, something the average administrative assistant would be unlikely to have. The winter also brings issues such as preventing damage caused by freezing weather. There are times, he said, when the town’s de-icers should be repositioned daily.
A meeting attendee noted that the $55,000 to $56,000 proposed salary was “peanuts.”
James A. Mulvey of Buzzards Bay rose later to comment that “you get what you pay for,” adding that people put control over many millions of dollars’ worth of boats into the marina manager’s hands. He said he wanted to see the town hire a knowledgeable professional.
Selectmen said, however, that they thought the pay scale was appropriate at this time. Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino, who will be appointing the new manager, asked that selectmen allow him some leeway by voting that the position be reclassified to a Step 1, without setting a dollar number for the job.
Selectmen complied with that request and then asked who would sit on the committee that would interview candidates. Mr. Guerino said he thought Ms. Thompson, Mr. Mullen, and a member of the shore and harbor committee would be asked to serve in that capacity.
There was some discussion of using any savings resulting from the job reclassification to hire a part-time administrative person to help the marina manager. That idea, however, was not included in the motion. Mr. Guerino told selectmen that there were a number of departments that could use such help.