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Andrews Commits to Wenham, Withdraws as Saugus Finalist

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Mark Andrews, who will , said he is fully committed to the job and has withdrawn as a finalist for the top job in Saugus.

Andrews arrived in Wenham for the first time last Wednesday when he met with town department heads – he brought with him three pounds of Italian cookies from Tripoli Bakery in Lawrence. On Tuesday night, Andrews will attend the Board of Selectmen meeting, when he will be formally introduced to the town.

His , although Andrews plans to work in Wenham at least one day a week until then. He had a vacation planned in Wareham – where he has worked as town administrator for the past two years - in mid-April and that will instead translate into spending most Fridays in Wenham for the next few weeks. He will take over after the departure of Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren on April 13, who has been and will take over for the retiring Tony Sasso.

Andrews last week was named one of three finalists for the town administrator job in Saugus, according to a report in the Daily Item of Lynn. But not long after the announcement, Andrews told Hamilton-Wenham Patch that he had “formally declined” an interview offer from the Saugus Board of Selectmen and has “put all my stock” in Wenham.

“I plan to work my heart and soul out,” Andrews said about his work in Wenham, adding he hopes to plan to show the Board of Selectmen, department heads and residents that he deserves to become the permanent town administrator.

Andrews has signed a contract through the end of August and will be paid the equivalent of an $100,000 annual salary. Molly Martins, the chairman of the Wenham Board of Selectmen, has said that Selectmen will begin the search process for a permanent town administrator after .

Andrews said he was drawn to the opening at  because he was hoping to get back to the North Shore or somewhere north of Boston - closer to his family in Haverhill, including his brother, sister-in-law and nephews.

“It’s really like coming home,” he said.

He called Wenham a town with a “rich history and solid attributes.”

Andrews lives in the Bradford section of Haverhill but also had a home in Wareham during his two and a half years down there because of the long commute and the Cape Cod traffic congestion in the summer.

In Wareham, Andrews said he was a “collaborative leader” that hired a new planning director, library director and building inspector, among other positions.

Andrews said he has faced “real serious fiscal challenges” in his career during his work in Haverhill, Lawrence and Wareham.

Among some changes Andrews said he is already considering is coming up with new ways to provide professional development for town employees.

He’s also looking forward to using his experience in planning and development in Wenham. Andrews, the former economic development and planning director in Haverhill, said he looks forward to working on the redevelopment of the Mullen property.

The fiscal well-being of a community is often tied to planning and economic development, Andrews said, and he hopes to help find ways to bring “property tax relief” to Wenham residents. He also said regionalization can help control the Wenham tax rate and said as part of the transition into his new job he will reach out to Hamilton Town Manager Michael Lombardo.

We're going to need a bigger boat March 28, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Here's some questions I hope Mr. Gates asks Mr. Andrews when he interviews him: -Lawrence ran up a debt of $30 million while you were Finance Director. Why? -You said you want to be close to home, but took a job in Wareham. Why? -There are reports your contract was not going to be renewed in Wareham for a variety of reasons. Is that why you applied for an interim position in Wenham? -Many important positions in Wareham remained unfilled during your tenure in Wareham. Why? -You hired a personal friend as Building Inspector, paid him well above the advertised salary, even though he wasn't certified as the law requires and never became so. Why? -When an audit found $919,000 was unaccounted for in Wareham, you fired the Town Accountant even though she was under your direct supervision. The Town paid her a settlement of $40,000 on the condition that she not talk about the circumstances of her termination. Please explain. -Reportedly a Wareham IT contract was given to an acquaintance of yours for well over the contract estimate. Why? -You hired a Police Chief you knew for over $50,000 more than comparable positions. Why? -Despite your economic development background Wareham remained mired in high unemployment, business closings and low investment. Why? -The Wareham Finance Committee often complained about not getting answers from you. Any comment?

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