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December 12. 2012 11:10PM

Amherst town administrator put on administrative leave

AMHERST - Town Administrator Jim O'Mara is on administrative leave, but town officials won't say what led to his temporary departure.

"It is a personnel issue. We are not going to make any comments," said Bruce Bowler, chairman of the Amherst Board of Selectmen, Wednesday.

Bowler cited the state's Right-To-Know law, saying employee matters are protected and confidential. Bowler would not say whether O'Mara was on paid or unpaid leave, nor would he elaborate on when O'Mara might return.

When asked who is filling in for O'Mara, Bowler said the department heads are doing their jobs, and everything is running smoothly at town hall. A home phone number listed for O'Mara had been disconnected, and he was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

Bowler refused to say whether police are involved in the matter or whether an internal investigation is under way by selectmen.

O'Mara, the former superintendent of the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections, took over as town administrator in October 2011.

"He has more than 20 years of executive management experience and he is already very involved in the community," Bowler said at the time O'Mara was selected for the position. "I'm sure he will do an outstanding job."

He was placed on administrative leave last week.

Before taking the town administrator role, O'Mara served on the local school board for about six years, and also served as selectmen chairman.

In addition to managing the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections for 20 years, O'Mara also serves on the New Hampshire Public Employees Labor Relations Board. He has been a local resident for 20 years, was active with the Amherst Recreation Department and served on the Amherst Ways and Means Committee.

The town administrator reports directly to selectmen, and supervises town hall clerical and custodial staff, is responsible for hiring staff, supervising town department heads and monitors and reports progress and goals to selectmen. The administrator also coordinates all town financial functions.

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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at khoughton@newstote.com.


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