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January 18. 2013 12:01AM

New Ipswich administrator resigns, town seeks successor

NEW IPSWICH - Town Administrator Marie Knowlton is leaving New Ispwich after the deliberative session in February and the search is now on for her replacement, said Selectman George Lawrence.

Knowlton, who has served as town administrator since 2006, announced her resignation earlier this month citing "mostly personal reasons," said Lawrence. Knowlton is the second high-ranking official to leave town government in the last year. Former police chief Garrett Chamberlain left his post in November after the town bought out the remainder of his contract.

Both Chamberlain and Knowlton's positions had been targeted by a group of residents in 2011 who petitioned to make the police chief's job an elected position open only to a town resident, and to eliminate funding for the town administrator position.

Lawrence said that Knowlton's resignation is effective Feb. 5, after the town's deliberative session.

"She's staying through this part of budget season so we can tie up all the loose ends," he said. "Deliberative session will be her last day and everything for the budget should be all set by then."

The town is accepting applications for the town administrator, a job which requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in municipal government and knowledge of accounting, budgets, contract negotiations, insurance and human resources. The town has received 20 to 30 applications and will continue accepting them for the next few weeks. Then, Lawrence said, the hard work will begin.

"We'll have to weed out the applicants and find the best one for the position," he said.

Though the town has hired outside agencies to assist with hiring in the past, the three-member board has decided not to pay for help and will manage the hiring process.

Knowlton couldn't be reached for comment.



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