Former Barnstable Town Manager John Klimm Moves On

Former Barnstable Town Manager John C. Klimm said this morning that he will not be seeking his old job at town hall, leaving the path open for a new town manager.

He said he held a meeting with Barnstable Town Council President Frederick Chirigotis this morning to let the council know his decision.

“I’ve spent months agonizing about this,” Mr. Klimm said.

He said he and his wife have been “approached by numerous entities about other opportunities out there.”

He did not want to say yet what other job he has decided to take or whether he plans to remain in town, but he said he would be taking another job soon.

Acting Town Manager Thomas K. Lynch, who has been holding the job, first as interim town manager since September 30 and then acting town manager since December 15, said he is interested in the top job.

He said he has been “energized” by the work so far.

Mr. Lynch’s contract as acting town manager goes to March 15.

At that point, the council can extend his contract for another three months in the role of acting town manager.

If the town council still has not made a decision on filling the town manager position, the council can then appoint Mr. Lynch permanently to the position for a short term.

When Mr Lynch was appointed acting town manager in December, his salary went from approximately $104,000 to $144,000.

He said that if he remains acting town manager for a significant period of time, he may seek approval from the council to reassign a member of the staff to serve as assistant town manager.

“I’m trying to maintain the stability of the organization. We’re down a key person,” he said of the lack of an assistant town manager.

Barnstable Town Council President Frederick Chirigotis said last night that within the next two weeks, he would likely appoint a pre-screening committee, which would decide the process for the town manager search.

As of last night, Mr. Chirigotis said he did not yet know Mr. Klimm’s plans.

Mr. Chirigotis said he would be meeting with the town attorney and town human resources staff today to iron out details on how the pre-screening committee should be chosen.

The pre-screening committee would come up with recommendations for a search committee, which Mr. Chirigotis said, could be made up of just town councilors or it could include members of the public.

Mr. Chirigotis said in his opinion, choosing a new town manager is the town council’s job, but he said he is open to hearing the thoughts of members of the pre-screening committee.

When Mr. Chirigotis sent around an e-mail last week asking which council members would like to be part of the town manager search, Mr. Chirigotis said the results were unanimous.

All 12 town councilors responded that they would like to be on the committee. Mr. Chirigotis said he is also interested in serving on the committee but he may step aside as there is so much interest from other councilors.

In order to narrow down who will serve on the pre-screening committee, Mr. Chirigotis said last night that he intended to speak individually to councilors over the weekend to gauge whether they have the time to devote to the process.

This weekend is the Massachusetts Municipal Association conference in Boston and most of the councilors are expected to attend all or part of the convention.

Mr. Klimm said he did not intend to go to the Massachusetts Municipal Association conference.

Listing financial stability, a public roads plan, the new youth center, the rehabilitated senior center, an additional golf course, marinas and open space, and a revitalized downtown and increased civic engagement, among other issues, Mr. Klimm said he is proud of what he and the town staff accomplished in his 12 years as town manager.

“I think the town has got a bright future,” he said.

He repeated a comment from last fall that he was delighted with the results of the recent town election and believes the new council “offers such promise.”

Mr. Klimm also said that his 12 years as town manager in the Town of Barnstable is twice the average term of a town manager in the commonwealth and he believes it is time to step aside.

“I’m getting to an age where I think I’m at my peak in terms of performance. I want to do something that maximizes my productivity and job satisfaction,” he said. “It makes sense to regroup.”

Overall, Mr. Klimm said, that his term as town manager is one he is deeply honored to have performed, though his final year, when the town council split over whether he should stay “is a part of my life that I will not reminisce fondly about.”

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