By James Niedzinski
---- — MANCHESTER — After six years at Manchester’s helm, Town Administrator Wayne Melville, 63, confirmed Monday that he will be stepping down come January.
While Jan. 4 will mark the end of his permanent run as town administrator, Melville said he will continue to serve in a part-time interim role until a permanent successor is found.
“I’m old, this is a young man’s game,” Melville, 63, said Monday. “Night meetings can turn 45-hour weeks into 55-hour weeks. The main reason for his departure is his age, but Melville said his retirement has been in the works for quite some time.
Some Selectmen have mixed feelings about Melville’s departure, which has been rumored as pending for several months.
Selectmen Thomas Kehoe said working with Melville was a pleasure. Kehoe was elected to the Board of Selectmen in May of 2006, “(My experience with Melville) has been very good, I’ve worked well with Wayne,” Kehoe said. “He’s very effective in terms of working with boards and town staff.”
“Wayne and I have had our differences of opinions over the years,” Selectmen Mary Hardwick said. “We have a love-hate relationship, but we keep each other on our toes.”
As Melville is leaving the position, the Board of Selectmen met Monday night with two consulting firms about hiring his replacement. Board members met with representatives from Groux Associates of North Chatham and Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith, N.H., to determine which firm should lead the administrator search.
Kehoe said both of these firms have worked with similar communities in Massachusetts and communities of the similar size. The MRI firm has worked with both Manchester and extensively with Gloucester in the past.
“Hiring a fire chief or a Department of Public Works employee for a big city is quite different,” he said. “This is an all encompassing job.”
Kehoe said the firms themselves would help determine what the salary of the next administrator would be.
Melville said his starting salary in 2006 was $100,000; it currently stands at $115,969, according to Jennifer Yaskell, the town treasurer.
Hardwick, who has been on the board for 17 years, said each administrator has a different style. She said she wants someone who is in the middle of their career.
Kehoe said May 1 was a tentative date for when the new administrator would start, depending on their current job and other factors.
Melville said he will miss working with town employees.
“I like the job, I like the people and I enjoyed working with the Board of Selectmen,” he said.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.