Early reluctance by some Selectmen to sign part-time Town Administrator John “Jack” Healey up for another year vanished last week as the board agreed unanimously in closed session to a renewed deal with the administrator.
Under the new plan, Mr. Healey will continue in his job and will be assisted by Stephen Lombard, who is also a retired town administrator (Mattapoisett, Cohasset). Mr. Lombard will work 24 hours a week as business manager.
Neither man will be provided benefits by Westport.
The arrangement (up for final review Monday night) would pay Mr. Lombard $60 an hour.
In April, the Selectmen had opted not to renew Mr. Healey’s contract for another year in a split vote. Voting against renewal were Chairman Richard Spirlet, Antone Vieira and R. Michael Sullivan. Favoring contract renewal were Steven Ouellette and Craig Dutra.
The action comes despite a largely positive performance review for the part-time administrator and favorable comments about his work from selectmen.
Most said they wanted to keep him on but the majority balked at the notion of a full-year contract at a time when selectmen were considering a variety of options for the position. These included hiring a full-time administrator or keeping Mr. Healey on as a part-timer and hiring an assistant administrator to deal with more of the day-today demands of the job.
Mr. Healey is paid for two days a week but said he typically devotes three or four days to the job. He began his part-time Westport stint in October of 2011 after serving as an interim town administrator in Freetown. Previously he had been the town manager in Middleboro for 22 years after which he also took interim stints in Southbridge and Kingston.
He said at the time of his hiring that part-time work is ideal for him because it provides him with income (around $45,000 a year with no benefits) while allowing him to keep his pension.
Mr. Healey succeeded former Westport Town Administrator Michael Coughlin who left to take a similar job in Cohasset.