SALEM — The city is on its way to getting a full-time Council on Aging director.
The job has been posted, a dozen applicants have sent in resumes so far, and Mayor Kim Driscoll said she hopes to fill the position by early January.
Funding a full-time director was part of a deal the mayor negotiated with Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan in exchange for support of the mayor’s financing plan for the new senior center planned for the corner of Boston and Bridge streets.
The 20,000-square-foot Gateway Center will be a public/private development that will include the new community center, offices and a 374-space parking lot.
Once hired, the new director will not only manage Salem’s senior programming but will be closely involved with the planning and building of the new senior center.
David Sweetser, manager of High Rock, the complex’s developer, said the project is moving forward, but it’s too early to tell when construction will begin.
Preconstruction work, such as taking soil samples, surveys and borings, has already occurred, he said.
“Things are going well,” Sweetser said. “We’re moving forward, moving ahead.”
Salem has not had a dedicated Council on Aging director for about seven years, since senior services was combined with the parks and recreation department in a budget consolidation. Right now, the parks and recreation department director oversees the city’s senior programming, with the help of support staff. Both departments are located in a 150-year-old building at 5 Broad St.
The new, full-time COA director will report to the parks and recreation director, Driscoll said.
The job description asks for applicants with a bachelor’s degree and five to seven years of experience or a master’s degree with a minimum of two years’ experience.
“Ability to speak Spanish a plus,” the job description reads.