Charlotte hires new town administrator

Late in its meeting on September 11, the selectboard went into an executive session to discuss one of its most important decisions of recent months.

When the board returned to public discussion, it voted unanimously to extend an offer to Nathaniel Bareham to be the next town administrator.

Bareham has accepted the job, which comes with a salary of $80,000 a year plus benefits.

The hiring of Bareham is the end of a 10-month process that began in November last year when town administrator Dean Bloch announced he was going to retire at the end of October this year.

In July, the selectboard formed a five-person search committee that winnowed through the applicants. Twelve candidates was trimmed to three candidates and ultimately the job was offered to Bareham.

“I think we’re really lucky. We got a younger fellow coming in here who’s enthusiastic, intelligent and has got really good public relations skills,” chair Jim Faulkner said.

Faulkner said the town is also lucky because Bloch has agreed to stay around to help Bareham learn the ins and outs of being Charlotte’s town administrator. Bloch may even stay beyond his announced final day of Oct. 31.

It is a challenge because Bloch has “a wealth of knowledge that you pick up over 20 years. It’s a little tricky to pass it on,” Faulkner said.

In addition to the board’s pleasure in Bareham’s positive character traits, several of the board members mentioned they were pleased that he has a law degree.

Bareham comes to Charlotte from western New York where he’s been working at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as a water safety coordinator.

Faulkner was impressed that Bareham had driven more than five hours twice for interviews with those involved in the hiring process.

Board member Frank Tenney said he was optimistic about the selection of Bareham. One thing that fuels his optimism is that the new town administrator is young.

“I’m always fearful sometimes when you hire somebody with too much experience, being set in their ways and not working as well with the other employees or the selectboard or any other boards,” Tenney said. “Sometimes it’s better off to have somebody that can be kind of trained for the style that Charlotte has.”

Over the years Bloch’s job description has expanded, so it’s a pretty big job, even for someone with experience. Although Bareham may not have been working as a town administrator, he’s been working in situations that are similar, so it won’t be completely unfamiliar job duties for him, Tenney said.

Selectboard members said that Bareham is aware that the town is going to have a vote on Town Meeting Day about switching to a town manager form of government, and he is content with working as either a town administrator or a town manager.

Board member Louise McCarren echoed the comments of other members: “I’m really pleased. He’s got a lot of knowledge and energy. And he really wants to do this. So, this is fantastic.”