Belated congratulations to Jeff Chelgren, who was appointed last month as new town administrator in Marblehead. Chelgren, who is slated to leave a similar post in the town of Wenham next month, will have big shoes to fill. Predecessor Tony Sasso served the town ably over almost two decades, keeping a tight rein on spending while providing residents with top-flight services. The town is one of only two dozen in the state whose bonds are rated AAA by Standard & Poor's.
There were more than 60 applicants for Sasso's job, as might be expected in a seaside community known for its great quality of life, fine schools and stable tax rate. But Chelgren was the unanimous choice of selectmen (The vote was 3-0, Harry Christensen and Bret Murray having recused themselves because they have relatives who work for the town) when they met on Jan. 18.
"Tony (Sasso) has done a tremendous job," Selectman James Nye declared after the vote, "and Jeff (Chelgren) seems to have a lot of those same qualities."
That augurs well for the town. With the annual town meeting approaching — as in Wenham, in Marblehead every resident is eligible to vote, making these a sometimes raucous and time-consuming affair — Chelgren has his work cut out for him. But the Lynn resident has had his taste of controversy and rancor in his current post, and should be well-suited for the task that lies ahead.