BEDFORD — With bond hearings and Budgetary Town Meeting right around the corner, a seasoned interim town manager will help provide a smooth transition after Jessie Levine leaves her post on Friday.
Pat McQueen, of Municipal Resources Inc., will serve as a part-time interim town manager until a permanent replacement is found. McQueen is contracted to work about 24 hours per week at a rate of $90 per hour. McQueen has served as a town manager in several New Hampshire towns, said Town Council Chairman Chris Bandazian.
"He has also filled in as an interim town manager in Durham, Pelham and Berlin, so he has considerable experience helping municipalities with transitions," Bandazian said.
There are three candidates interested in the full-time manager position, and the search is expected to be narrowed down after second interviews are conducted. McQueen has not applied for the Bedford town manager post, Bandazian said.
The council hired Municipal Resources Inc., a private organization based in Meredith that recruits candidates, narrows the finalist pool for town and city board selections, and provides interim employees when necessary. Bedford's cost for the town manager search process is $7,500.
"With the budget, bonds and zoning amendments up for a vote in March, there is too much to do to leave that seat vacant. It is also not reasonable to expect the department heads to take on additional administrative duties to their regular duties," he said.
The process of hiring a new town manager has been conducted in non-public sessions, including professional and town department head panel interviews of candidates that took place Dec. 20. The council also met with Don Jutton, of Municipal Resources Inc. on Jan. 6 to discuss the interviews and candidates.
Levine said McQueen is scheduled to meet with town department heads and attend the Town Council meeting on Wednesday. He will begin working in Bedford on Tuesday.
Levine said over the next few days she will be documenting items, and trying to avoid starting new projects.
She was hired in August 2012 to fill the position held by Russ Marcoux, who died in November 2011 after a brief illness. In Bedford, she earned an annual salary of $110,000.
Levine has sold her condo in Bedford, and is returning to her home in Springfield to be closer to friends and loved ones. Levine will serve as Sullivan County manager at an annual salary of $95,000, and will be overseeing a budget, the county nursing home, the Department of Corrections and the UNH Cooperative Extension's agricultural and education programs. She will also be working closely with the three elected county commissioners.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 16 months in Bedford and will never forget my time here. My gratitude goes out to the Town Council, department heads, and wonderful volunteers and citizens who keep this community vibrant. With an excellent school system and thriving business community, Bedford is poised for an exciting and successful future," said Levine.