Within the first 24 hours of taking his oath of office, Town Administrator Antonio Teixeira was notified of a house fire that completely destroyed a Smith Street home. Hours later fumes were detected inside town hall, and an emergency cleaning of the chimney and boiler was needed to ensure that the furnace was properly ventilated.
“The first week was a little crazy,” Mr. Teixeira said.
After enjoying three years as a retiree, Mr. Teixeira used the first week in his elected office to acclimate himself with the duties of the position, and ensure that the administration and town staff are on the same page.
With the retirement of Denise Asciola, a long time town employee who served as administrative assistant to Diane Mederos, finding a suitable replacement was among the first orders of the new administrator’s business. After considering several qualified candidates, Mr. Teixeira hired Cheryl Iams to assist in the town’s administration. A 30 year town employee, Ms. Iams has worked in nearly every department in town hall, as well as the department of public works.
“She’s a great person to assist, especially through the transition,” Mr. Teixeira said.
The first day as town administrator was quite a shock physically and emotionally, Mr. Teixeira said, with back to back emergencies. Day two was better, Mr. Teixeira said, with Ms. Iams taking control of some logistical issues.
“She said we need a schedule. I met with department heads to bring me up to speed with what’s going on. Not the nitty-gritty or budgeting yet, just to ask what should I know,” he said.
As town administrator, Mr. Teixeira also made it a priority to find out who is doing what with regard to town employees. His edict to department heads was to draw up an organizational chart of each department, and write job descriptions for each of the positions within it.
“I want to know who’s doing what and make that available to the public. Some of this helps to see if we’re functional, some of this helps for the budget process,” Mr. Teixeira said of his request to management staff.
Mr. Teixeira also met individually with members of the town council.
“We’ve had some interesting conversations,” he said, without sharing the details of those conversations. “For the most part, I see they will do the right thing for the right reasons. I think we’ll have a very good team.”
While the town’s business is a priority, the town administrator called on his wife Jacqueline, and Ms. Iams to help with some redecorating ideas.
“They moved the desk around and put up some decorations,” he said gesturing to the new décor. “It needed a new look.”
Despite the day to day business and the occasional emergencies that will come up, staying available and accessible to the public is still important.
“I intend to do my usual walk-a-bouts,” he said. “There’s such a parallel between what I did in the school department and what I do here. My goal is to get as many residents involved in town business as possible. There are so many things to address.”