The Board of Selectmen may bring in a professional recruiting firm to assist in the second search for a successful town manager.
"It was a very long process that led to an unsuccessful conclusion," Selectman Chairman Timothy Hicks said during the meeting on Thursday evening. "Professional recruiters are more proactive in recruiting the strongest candidates possible."
Selectman Vice Chairman Nick Hammond said he would like to entertain one or two of the recruitment firms to find out what they can offer and the cost of services.
"They go out and search for candidates who might not see our advertisement," he said. "I don't think it would be hurtful to push for an independent firm."
The board finalized the decision to advertise immediately for a seven member screening panel including two members from the Board of Selectmen. The deadline to apply for the screening board is Thursday Aug. 5. The board will determine the five seat panel on Aug. 9.
In addition to a new screening panel, the Board of Selectmen will make alterations to the candidate interview process. Hammond said he would like to "streamline the process" by narrowing down to three candidates followed by site visits, a public interview, and a one-on-one discussion with the board.
A main concern for the board was the violation of the executive session when information was leaked to a blog during the initial candidate interview process.
"The screening committee is an extension of the board. It is an ethical violation to post any votes or information on a blog until the chairman of the screening panel has officially released the minutes," Hicks said. "The confidentiality of the executive session is absolutely paramount."
In the next interview process, the selectmen may involve the use of an attorney to prepare legal documentation stating these guidelines for the new screening panel.
In regards to the previous search panel and interview process Hammond said, "Everyone did their job. I think the system is fine. I just hope we can find the candidates we are looking for. I would like to re-open this and find the person that we can all back."
Selectman Doreen Goodrich remains cautious of the desire to quickly fill the town manager position. "I want to make sure this isn't rushed," she said. "I want it to be as fair as possible."