Contract renewed for Town Administrator

Dec 7, 2020

With some disagreement over his new salary, the Select Board narrowly approved a three-year contract renewal for Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes on Dec. 7 by a 3-2 vote.

The contract promises MacInnes $185,000 for the first fiscal year — a $25,000 raise — with a 2.5% merit increase each following year.

Earlier this year, MacInnes was a finalist for a job as town administrator for Wellfleet after entering the second year of his  three-year contract with Dartmouth. MacInnes replaced former town administrator David Cressman in July 2018 after spending 21 years as municipal operations director at the town of Yarmouth.

An engineer by trade, he began his career at the Yarmouth Department of Public Works before working his way up to manage a $15 million budget and 50 employees in his department.

In Dartmouth, he was selected from a pool of 49 applicants to oversee a budget of $85 million and hundreds of employees.

Select Board Member John Haran said that this year — with town revenue down and businesses closing — is not the right time for a large raise. Haran added that he felt it was not fair for this to happen when the Select Board — through MacInnes — asked other union workers to take in much smaller two percent raises. (MacInnes’ raise is just under 14 percent.)

“During good times, the captain and the team get raises — and maybe the captain gets more than the team,” he said. “But in bad times, the captain gets the same raise as the team.”

Haran also argued that this salary was also much higher than any the previous administrator, David Cressman, had ever asked for.

“Mr. Cressman was only making around $150,000 after 20 years as a town administrator,” the Select Board member said. “Mr. MacInnes has only been a town administrator for three years.”

Vice Chair Shawn McDonald noted that the $25,000 raise would only be for the first year, followed with a “percentage increase and not the huge amount of money the first one is.” He added that while Cressman might have asked for only $150,000, that “was past history.”

“A loaf of bread was 29 cents back in 1920, now it’s two [or] three bucks,” McDonald said. “You can’t compare several years ago — the biggest fallacy of any job is just because you don’t have the experience, you can’t do the job.” 

Select Board member David Tatelbaum noted that while the new contract is a “substantial increase,” it is comparable to other towns in the area.

“We found that small towns are willing to pay even more than what Mr. MacInnes has requested,” he said. “If we went out shopping again, I am quite confident that we’d find someone who’d cost us in the similar range, but without the proven track record over the past two years.”

“I do not want to lose this fella,” Tatelbaum added.

McDonald agreed. The vice-chair praised MacInnes for his ability to help save costs during the pandemic and the need to “have a constant” after a year full of retirements and new town employees.

“Mr. MacInnes has earned his job,” he said. “But I also have no qualms in making sure that Mr. MacInnes’ feet are held to the fire to do the things that he’s supposed to do — he knows that.” 

“I think we have the right man for the right job at the right time,” he added.