Council to Begin Search Process for New City Manager in January

When the City Council convenes for the new year, it will have a big task on its hands – beginning the search for a new City Manager.

Earlier this month, current City Manager Thomas Ambrosino announced he will be beginning a new position on Jan. 30 as the Court Administrator of the Trial Court for Massachusetts.

“We have asked Tom to submit a formal letter of resignation so we can move forward with the process,” said Council President Calvin Brown.

As the Council moves forward with the hiring process, Brown said Deputy City Manager Ned Keefe will handle much of the day-to-day business of the city manager’s office.

“He’ll be able to focus on a lot of projects over the next six months that are already underway,” said Brown. Having the deputy city manager in place will help make the transition to a new city manager easier when the time comes, Brown said.

Brown said he has been through the city manager selection process twice, and that the city has been fortunate with those two selections, Ambrosino, and before him, Jay Ash.

The process for hiring the next city manager will likely be similar to the one used to hire Ambrosino in 2015, with a steering committee and heavy community involvement, Brown said.

“We need to select a person who cares about Chelsea and focuses on Chelsea and doesn’t just see it as a stepping stone,” said Brown. “We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had two great city managers.”

The candidates will need to focus on the unique population of Chelsea and the many challenges the city faces, from affordable housing and mental health issues, to the city’s small businesses and active nonprofit community.

“The challenge we have is that the process has to be fair and involve the community,” said Brown.

With a number of changes across city departments, Brown said the new city manager will also have the opportunity to form his or her own team, much as Ambrosino did when he started in Chelsea.

The next scheduled City Council meeting is the special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3, when the council will nominate and elect the new president, vice president, and representative to the School Committee.

Brown said it currently looks like Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson, the council’s longest-serving member, has the votes to succeed him as council president.

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