SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 12, 2013

Hamilton town manager gets deal, no pay raise

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMILTON — Town Manager Michael Lombardo and selectmen have reached a deal on a new contract in which the town’s top official will continue his work without a pay raise.

Lombardo’s annual salary will remain $129,413, according to the contract.

Selectmen unanimously voted last night to approve the new three-year deal. Lombardo is subject to receive cost of living raises if approved by selectmen, according to selectmen Chairman David Neill.

Selectmen started negotiations last month after sending Lombardo a letter in November expressing interest in negotiating a new contract — a stipulation of his current contract.

Neill said there are no major changes to the contract. The negotiations were lively, good-spirited and fair, he said.

“It went very well,” Neill said of the negotiation process. “We didn’t always agree, we (selectmen) caucused a lot.”

Both Neill and Lombardo said they were pleased with the results.

“I’m content where I am,” Lombardo said. “I am very pleased with the contract and with working for the town.”

He said he is looking forward to the next three years.

As part of the new agreement, Lombardo will receive $3,700 for opting out of the town’s health insurance policy. His previous contract did not allow him to take part in the town’s opt-out program like other employees.

Neill noted that under the new contract Lombardo will undergo a review twice a year instead of annually. The reviews will take place in April and October.

The process will include written evaluation, discussions on performance and a summary of the evaluation, according to the contract.

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

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.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.