CLAREMONT — The contract for incoming city manager Ed Morris is finalized, and the city is set to pay him more than his predecessor.

Vermont town manager tapped to lead Claremont
Former Claremont city manager drops appeal of firing

Morris, who is coming from nearby Weathersfield, Vt., where he served as the town manager for the better part of three years, is set to be paid $122,000 per year in salary for the position.

Claremont’s last manager, Ryan McNutt, was paid $110,000 per year during the two years he was in Claremont.

Morris’ hiring was announced in July following a monthslong search for McNutt’s replacement. The city did not use an outside recruiting firm to help with the process, but instead relied on a volunteer committee to find the next manager.

Morris, 44, has been the town manager in Weathersfield for about three years and came to New England from Idaho. He was a career firefighter in Twin Falls, Idaho, for over 16 years and also served a year as assistant to the city manager in Jerome, Idaho. The Weathersfield post was Morris’ first job as a municipal manager.

Weathersfield is across the Connecticut River from Claremont. The prior is a town of fewer than 3,000 residents with an annual budget of $1.2 million. Claremont’s population is just shy of 13,000 people, and the municipal budget is $17 million.

Under the terms of the contact, Morris will begin his job in Claremont on Sept. 23. He will also have 12 months in which to relocate from Vermont.

McNutt’s contract was terminated Jan. 2 by the city council following clashes between him and Mayor Charlene Lovett. McNutt claimed that Lovett tried to take more power as mayor than is allowed under the charter. Councilors cited communication problems. “We understand the role of the council differently from that of the city manager,” Lovett said in January.

McNutt replaced Guy Santagate, the former longtime city manager who is credited with getting the mill district redeveloped, keeping bridge fabricator Canam in the city, and turning around a city budget with virtually no reserve funds, among other accomplishments. Santagate’s salary in his last year as city manager was $100,250 per year, with a $6,000 car allowance.