By Jonathan Phelps
---- — IPSWICH — Town Manager Robin Crosbie has received a $5,000 raise after her first year on the job.
Selectmen unanimously voted Monday night to approve the increase after a performance review that took place at the end of last year. The 2 percent cost-of-living increase and $2,300 merit increase bring her annual salary to $140,000, effective Feb. 1, according to selectmen Chairman Charles Surpitski.
This makes her the second-highest paid of town managers and administrators in six North Shore towns, behind Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, who makes $192,396. Danvers has about 10,000 more residents than Ipswich.
Crosbie, the town’s first female town manager, started her work at Town Hall on Aug. 1, 2012. Her contract expires July 31, 2015.
The performance review was conducted by Surpitski and Selectman Bill Craft. The review involved three ratings — not acceptable, acceptable and outstanding — in several categories.
Selectmen said Crosbie was outstanding in providing leadership, demonstrating a positive work ethic and fostering teamwork. Other categories included problem solving, management and communications. She did not receive any “not acceptable” marks, according to the performance review.
Craft said the evaluation was an adapted version of performance reviews that the town uses for all town employees. It did not provide comments outside the rating, but Craft provided comments at a selectmen’s meeting in December.
“Overall, I think she moved to Ipswich and very quickly took on tasks that we had identified as priorities,” Craft said during an interview. This includes developing a comprehensive capital plan and a new budget process for Town Meeting, he said.
“I think she is very action-oriented,” Craft said. “In the past, we would ask the town manager to look at something, and sometimes, we would have to ask again. With Robin, within one or two meetings, she will recommend a policy or steps for us to move forward. ... She has encouraged us to move much faster than we have in the past. She picked up the pace at Town Hall, which we needed.”
One project Crosbie initiated was the reorganization of the utilities department, in which she recommended to move the water and wastewater operations to Department of Public Works, Craft said.
“I don’t think we are quite ready to make a decision on that,” Craft said. “It has been a useful discussion, and we’ve learned a lot.”
Crosbie said during an interview that she thought her first year went well.
“It is a combined effort with the management team and Board of Selectmen,” she said. “I’ve been very happy that people worked very collaboratively during this past year.”
Beside capital planning and budgeting, Crosbie revamped job descriptions for department heads and worked to improve emergency management systems. An emergency management center opened in the basement of Town Hall because there was no room in the police station, she said.
She worked to restore the recreation director position to full time and developed the ReCreation and Culture Department, where the director, Kerrie Bates, is also in charge of organizing events aimed to help with the town’s economic development.
Crosbie, the former town manager of Longmeadow, replaced longtime Town Manager Bob Markel, who stepped down to take a town manager job in Maine. He was making $122,133 annually when he resigned.
Ipswich’s town charter requires the manager to live in town. Crosbie grew up in Maine and northern Virginia, went to college in North Carolina and taught on a Navajo reservation before coming to Ipswich.
“I like living in town. I am not the one who enjoys driving,” she said. “I live on High Street, and I can walk to work and downtown.”
She said she enjoys the commercial center, historic district, beach and open space.
“It is a 360-degree town,” she said. “There is a little bit of everything.”
Some of her goals moving forward include a downtown assessment and consolidating the town and schools facility departments, among other projects.
“If anything, it is not slowing down,” Crosbie said.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.
THE LEADER BOARD