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2014 performance review of Arlington's town manager

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Feb. 20 memo from Director of Human Resources Caryn Malloy to the Board of Selectmen regarding the performance review of Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine:

Pursuant to the evaluation forms completed by each member of the Board of Selectmen I am providing you with the consensus document for your consideration.

1. Personal Characteristics - Average Score 4.64

Among the components of this category are to display creativity, innovation, flexibility and appropriate risk taking; the Town Manager received high marks across the Board in this component. One member noted that his rating of the manager in this category improved over last year due to the Manager's consistent excellence "at being creative and responsive."

Innovations that were of mention included finding additional parking in the Center of Town necessitated by the safety upgrades planned there and the Arlington Visual Budget. The Manager received a compliment from one member for keeping the Board updated in a timely manner, including two significant criminal matters in the recent year. Another member of the Board was complimentary of the Manager's ability to explain the pros and cons of various decisions and his remarkable resiliency in the face of "constant demands for his attention."

2. Professionalism - Average Score 4.55

Members of the Board are impressed by the Manager's commitment to improving himself and the employees through professional development opportunities. One member complimented the Manager's leadership not only within Arlington but also through his active participation in municipal professional development associations including the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

The Manager was also complimented for instituting an evaluation process, similar to the one that is used for his own performance, for department heads under his supervision. One Board member expressed that even more innovations learned from participation in the various professional municipal associations should be brought back and introduced for use in Arlington. And last, one Board member remarked that the solicitation of input from the people that report to the Manger might be helpful in making a more well-rounded evaluation of the Manager in this arena.

3. Public Relations/Communication - Average Score 4.75

Members of the Board were very pleased with the Manager's attendance at a great many Town events and are impressed by the number of relationships he has fostered in his short time as Town Manager. They also indicated that the Manager is very open to having meetings with
Town Meeting Members, citizens, business owners and others, no matter what the issue, and that he does not ignore questions or difficult problems that are directed his way.

One member also pointed out that in his opinion, the Manager is an excellent writer and speaker; this member was particularly moved by Mr. Chapdelaine's comments at the vigil in memory of local homicide victims. One member, while saying he believes the Manager has improved in this area, expressed that there is still work to be done in terms of accessibility and communication with the public.

4. Board Support/Relations - Average Score 4.44

Overall, members were very pleased with how their relationship with the Manager has grown over the last year. One member expressed that while there is always room for growth, there has been tremendous progress with him and other Board members which he described as "fantastic." Another member complimented the Manager for his "supreme discretion" and "ability to stay above politics" while working for an elected Board with diverse personalities, concerns, experience and constituencies. This member was also impressed by the Manager's promptness in scheduling requested meetings with Board members and direct communications about high­ priority matters.

5. Community Leadership - Average Score 4.5

Again, members complimented the Manager's high visibility in Town and added that his residing within the community enhances his presence. Members complimented the Manager's active participation in many events in town by speaking or assisting in other ways. In particular, one member was very appreciative of the leadership the Manager exhibited during the tragedies and challenges of the last year.

Members expressed a satisfaction with the Manager's relationship with the Town's legislative delegation and were complimentary of his work with the state and federal government during the Massachusetts Avenue project. One member expressed that the legislative delegation could be further engaged to help Arlington to a greater extent than it already does; this same member expressed that she would like more timely follow-ups with some state agencies.

6. Organizational Leadership/Personnel Management - Average Score 4.59

Members were very complimentary of the caring and excellent team atmosphere the Manager has created since his appointment. One member remarked "superior efforts" in regard to collective bargaining and staff morale as compared with the 3 previous Town Mangers.

Board members recognized that full engagement by the employees is essential for the Town's success. One Board member noted that reviews of the Manager's performance by his subordinates and other town employees "only improve with time" and that he is outstanding in that regard. One member went on further to explain that the Manager defines the word teamwork broadly and has worked well in engaging other governmental units and departments, such as the school department, that are not his direct purview.

This member also went on to compliment the manager for his professional and inclusive hiring processes and the reorganization of departments that have provided an opportunity for advancement for employees.

7. Financial Management - Average Score 4.63

Members were complimentary of the budget as being put together professionally and submitted on time. One member acknowledged that the Manager and his team have been acknowledged with awards and recognitions in this area; The Arlington Visual Budget, the Financial Plan and analysis for the Long-Range Planning Committee (including ever increasing demands for multiple scenarios), and the analysis that led to the overhaul of the municipal water rates and billing.

The Manager's participation in the deliberations concerning Minuteman High School, the renovation of Arlington High School and his assistance in managing the rapidly rising K-12 enrollment were described by one member as "vital." One member described the Manager as "managing all the tools he has." such as the state, the Budget and Revenue Task Force, Long­ Range Planning Committee and Finance Committee "very well."

8. Planning and Organization - Average Score 4.57

Comments under this category indicate the Board is pleased with the planning processes that are in place and how those processes are continuing to evolve. One member described the Manager and his team as having done "an exemplary job of facilitating analysis" by the Long-Range Planning Committee and Budget and Revenue Task Force.

The Manager was also described as being "organized in thought and deed" with an ability to think beyond the short-term demands that are constantly directed his way. This member also complimented the Manager's commitment to sitting with the Board to jointly set goals and objectives for the coming year. One member encouraged the Manager to make an even greater effort to coordinate with the Board's administrative staff in the development and management of Town Warrants.

9. Overall- Average Score 4.80

The Manager is described as being professional, respectful, knowledgeable and proactive. Overall, the Board expressed how fortunate we are to have him as our Town Manager and how much his steady leadership will be needed as we meet greater challenges down the road. One member expressed that last year he had noted a concern over the Manager's ability to strike a balance between the day to day vs. long term objectives but has since seen the Manager develop a "healthy balance between the two".

Among the strengths recognized by the Board are his strong rapport and bolstering of employee morale. His ability to bring disparate groups together to work for the best result for the community is another. One member indicated that he regularly hears from "employees and delighted residents" about the Town Manager's efforts.

One member suggested that under areas for improvement that when developing new policies (a recognized strength of the Town Manager) that the policy include stronger prescriptions for ongoing enforcement, and conversely when bylaw enforcement has become impracticable or outdated to suggest appropriate adjustments. Another member would like the Manager to never lose the desire to seek a way to solve our structural deficit problem; the member acknowledged that the solution may not exist but we should never stop trying. And finally one member requested that the Manager be sure to stay open to monitoring and evaluating how he interacts and experiences the different personalities of the Board to ensure that he gives equal weight and support to their respective concerns.


This document, provided by the selectmen's office, was published Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

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