SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 29, 2013

Talks begin for town manager

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMILTON — Town Manager Michael Lombardo and selectmen have entered into talks to renew his contract, which expires in April.

Lombardo, who became the town’s first town manager in 2010, earns a salary of $127,500.

Selectmen sent a letter to Lombardo in November expressing interest in negotiating a new contract, which is part of Lombardo’s contract, according to selectmen Chairman David Neill.

“Both parties agreed to enter negotiations,” Neill said.

The contract talks began in executive session two weeks ago, and it is unknown how long they may last.

“My goal is to have it done well before Town Meeting,” Neill said. “But there is no guarantee because both sides need to come to an agreement.”

While Lombardo has been invited to sit in during the negotiations, the board has spent a fair amount of time talking about the terms of the contract without him, Neill said.

During his annual performance review in September, Lombardo earned “a solid B.”

Overall, he earned the highest marks for his work on closing the town landfill, maintaining the town’s relationship with neighboring Wenham, managing town insurance policies and town property, serving as a liaison with residents and the media, and working on legal matters with the town’s lawyer.

His lowest marks came in information technology management (a C-) and his work as personnel director and employee management (between a B- and a C).

Lombardo, who previously worked as the city manager in Iowa City, succeeded former Hamilton Town Administrator Candace Wheeler. Wheeler had worked for the town for more than 30 years and chose not to apply for the newly created position of town manager; she left in the summer of 2010.