By James Niedzinski
---- — MANCHESTER —The current town manager in the far western Massachusetts community of Lenox has tendered his resignation there and has agreed to take the town administrator’s job in Manchester, where he’s signed onto a three-year deal at a starting salary of $125,000.
While Manchester officials had not confirmed receiving the signed contract as of Thursday, Gregory Federspiel has accepted the town’s contract offer, which includes a 2.5 percent increase for the following two years, according to Susan Thorne, who chairs Manchester’s Board of Selectmen. Thorne said he will be eligible for the town’s health-care and pension plans.
She added that, because Federspiel will be a new employee of the town, he will be contributing 30 percent to health care costs while the town picks up the remaining 70 percent; current employees contribute 20 percent while the town pays 80 percent of the health plan.
Thorne said the negotiation process, which was ultimately handled by the town’s labor counsel Feeley and Brown, went through smoothly.
“There was some back and forth and some fine tuning of language and conditions,” she said Thursday. “At the end I think we feel we’ve got a good contract and a fair contact.”
Federspiel too, thought the negotiations were amicable and fair.
“I gave up a few things,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “But I didn’t feel like there was a need to hold out.”
Federspiel said each town is different, adding there was nothing was drastically different between his Lenox and Manchester contracts.
Federspiel said he has visited Manchester and Cape Ann to look for a house or apartment in the area.
Federspiel said Manchester’s natural beauty was one of the reasons he took the job.
“It’s hard finding a place (to live) in the summer,” he quipped.
Federspiel said he had been briefed on some of the issues facing Manchester — such as capping the former burn dump on Pine Street — but he has yet to sit down with officials and employees to learn more about the community.
Federspiel will be greeting two new members on the Board of Selectmen in Manchester, with neither Thorne nor Mary Hardwick seeking re-election later this month. He also spent part of Thursday night saying goodbye to officials and residents in Lenox, which held its Annual Town Meeting last night.
“It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, but it’s healthy for everybody,” he said Thursday.
Federspiel said he is set to start in his new position toward the end of June; Thorne added that Manchester’s current interim Town Administrator, Wayne Melville — who served as full-time administrator since 2007 before retiring in January, will serve the town two or three days a week until Federspiel settles in.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.