Mark Andrews, who will , said he is fully committed to the job and has withdrawn as a finalist for the top job in Saugus.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