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Wenham to Launch Search for New Finance Director

Wenham Finance Director Nichole Hagstrom resigned last week and the Board of Selectmen will discuss how to fill the position when it meets on Tuesday night.

The Wenham finance director is leaving for a job in the Salem schools and the Board of Selectmen will decide this week how it wants to fill the position – a task that was more difficult and lengthier than expected last time around.

Nichole Hagstrom submitted her resignation last week, according to Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren.

Hagstrom has been on the job as finance director at just more than a year after being promoted from assistant to the town administrator last August. She had been Chelgren’s assistant for five years, after serving as assistant town accountant for two years.

“We are saddened by this news, but we wish her the best in this new endeavor,” Chelgren said.

Hagstrom took over for Wenham resident Sarah Johnson, who left in May 2010 to become finance director in Weston. From May through August 2010, a consultant from Powers and Sullivan was used to perform some of the finance department functions until Hagstrom took over.

Chelgren said Hagstrom’s resignation has not yet been discussed with the full three member Board of Selectmen.

“I will be doing that this week and once I have received feedback, I can offer the public more information on what our approach (to find a replacement) will be,” Chelgren said on Sunday.

The Board of Selectmen next meet at 4 p.m. on Monday in what is scheduled only to be an executive session to discuss contract negotiations and real estate. A regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Wenham Town Hall.

Hagstrom was named to the position after three searches did not yield any candidates.

"We were unsuccessful in all three attempts in finding a candidate that was the right fit for Wenham,” Chelgren was quoted in the Salem News last September after the Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 to name Hagstrom to the position. “We decided to try and find an internal candidate and create our own finance director with the best resources we have.”

The minutes from the Aug. 31, 2010 Board of Selectmen meeting, where Hagstrom was named as Finance Director, are attached to this story as a PDF. The notes from the vote are on page 4.

At last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Chelgren said that the fiscal 2013 budget process is about to begin as department heads receive budget packets and the Selectmen and Finance Committee come up with a budget message.

Over the weekend, Chelgren said it is yet to be determined how the lengthy search process last time or how the approaching budget season would factor into the search this time.

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