Four finalists for Acton Town Manager

Four candidates for Acton's new Town Manager have been chosen, and the Town Manager Search Committee (TMSC) released their names and related information at the special Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting tonight.

The candidates are:

Stephen Crane, currently the Town Manager of Longmeadow, MA.
Lisa Hemmerle, Director of Economic Development for Cambridge, MA.
Sean Hendricks, the town manager of Killingly, CT.
John Mangiaratti, Deputy Town Manager for Andover, MA.

The fifth candidate dropped out after being offered and accepting a position in another town.

The TMSC had 57 applicants and interviewed eight, which included some written questions. Only the finalists' information is released to the public. The TMSC spent a great deal of time talking with town departments and gathering community input before conducting their screening process. The TMSC was chaired by Pat Clifford and included members Mary Ann Ashton, Jon Benson, Mike Gowing, Charlie Kadlec, Xuan Kong, Steve Noone, Sahana Purohit, and Nancy Tavernier.

BOS Chair Janet Adachi was adamant that the public would not be allowed to ask questions directly to any of the candidates, citing the lack of time between the announcement of the finalists and when the BOS plans to vote to make a conditional offer to one of the candidates, with that vote scheduled for this Monday. Search Consultant Bob Mercier of Municipal Resources Inc (MRI) said that few searches for Town Managers have a process which involves direct public input. He said that the TMSC was essentially serving as the public input since they solicited opinions and vetted the candidates. All candidates have strong backgrounds and the Selectmen felt that they could rely on the initial screening.

Adachi said that residents could attend the public interviews this Saturday, although they will not be allowed to ask questions because time is too short. And then they could send feedback to the BOS prior to Monday night's meeting. The public will be able to email questions to the BOS or provide feedback at the BOS meeting, but candidates will not be present. The BOS plans to deliberate in public and vote that night to select one of the candidates. The consultant estimated about three weeks to complete a background check and negotiate the terms of the contract before everything is finalized.

Selectman Peter Berry said he preferred to have some public input and that he felt the process was occurring too quickly, given the recent time commitments of Town Meeting. But the Selectmen agreed that good candidates could drop out, and one already had, so time was of the essence.

Acton Forum publisher Allen Nitschelm said that not allowing any public input was missing a valuable opportunity to give residents the opportunity to interact directly with the candidates, and if the Committee allowed one-half hour of questions from the public per candidate, the Committee could still finish on Saturday at a reasonable time. Nitschelm's suggestion was not accepted by the Selectmen.


The Selectmen believe the interviews will be televised and will occur in Room 204 of Town Hall. The schedule for Saturday is as follows:

9 am, Lisa Hemmerle
10 am, John Mangiaratti
11 am, Sean Hendricks
1 pm, Steve Crane.

Any comments that residents wish to send to the BOS may be emailed to If you would like to suggest questions to ask, they should be sent prior to Saturday. If you would like to provide feedback, you can email the Board prior to their meeting on Monday at 7 pm, or attend in person.

For the TMSC final report which describes the process used to select the finalists, and the resumes and answers to the TMSC questions from each candidate, click here:

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Update, John Mangiaratti chosen by the selectmen

At their Special BoS Meeting last Monday 4-9-2018 the selectmen voted unanimously to offer the position of Town Manager to John Mangiaratti, subject to a successful completion of a background check and contract negotiations, expected to take 1 to 2 weeks.

The BoS meeting can be seen on Acton TV at

Charlie Kadlec