Selectmen Names Interim Town Admin As Search Begins to Replace Kale

Photo: Phyllis Marshall

Phyllis Marshall, Belmont’s assistant Town Administrator, was named interim Town Administrator by the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Feb. 13 as the three-member panel puts into motion its “plan of action” to find a replacement for the departing Town Administrator David Kale.

“You’re going to be in it knee deep,” said Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo to Marshall, who takes over the top job in Belmont in mid-March as Kale heads to Cambridge City Hall. Marshall starts her new position in the midst of the annual budget season and six weeks before Town Meeting begins on May 1.

Marshall was hired by Kale to be assistant Town Administrator in December 2013 from Watertown where she was Treasurer and Collector.

The Selectmen voted Monday to increase Marshall’s salary to $160,000 during her time in the job. The selectmen also authorized the temporary hiring of a consultant to assist her with the budget process.

The board also on Monday revealed its outline on finding Kale’s replacement which will start with the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire a professional search firm to evaluate the job and assist in finding candidates.

Paolillo said the board soon will also create a selection committee – which could be made up of representatives of the Selectmen, Warrant and school committees, Planning Board and Capital Budget Committee – which will recommend two or three finalists.

The selectmen will have the ultimate final say on who is hired.

Paolillo said the board hopes to select the town’s new administrator by August.

Search to Replace Town Administrator as Kale Heads for Home

Photo: David Kale

The novelist Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again.”

Apparently, David Kale is ignoring that advice.

The lifelong Cambridge resident will decamp as Belmont’s Town Administrator in mid-March to become his hometown’s Assistant City Manager for Finance, according to a press release issued late Thursday, Jan. 19 by Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale.

Kale returns to Cambridge city government having served previously as the city’s Director and Deputy Finance/Budget Director from 2003 to 2012.

Kale was in the final six months of a second three-year contract ending in July 2017.

While sudden, the news of Kale’s departure was not shocking to most in Belmont government circles.

“It was really no surprise that [Kale] would be leaving,” said Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo Thursday, noting Kale’s strong ties to Cambridge and the knowledge that Belmont’s neighbor would be seeking his expertise in finance and budgeting for its operation. 

“It’s a great job for him, a real step up in his career,” said Paolillo.

While saying Kale’s departure “will be a real loss to the town,” Paolillo said a committee would be assembled “soon” to begin the search for Kale’s replacement.

We have a fiduciary obligation to do a broad search for a replacement,” said Paolillo. 

Paolillo said he hopes the board will appoint Assistant Town Administrator Phyllis Marshall as interim Town Administrator until a new chief administrative officer for the town is selected. Paolillo said Marshall would be welcomed to apply for the position. 

Kale was named Belmont’s town administrator in June 2012 after a contentious decision. Paolillo said Kale was instrumental in implementing the successful “one town, one budget” process in which schools and municipal departments worked collaboratively in creating the annual budget.

“[Kale] was politically astute … and he really tried to work towards a consensus on what was best for Belmont,” said Paolillo. 

“He was not a reactive town administrator. David was always thinking about the next step and working towards filling the needs of the town. I’ll miss that the most,” he said. 

Paolillo said Kale would stay to lead the town through the initial part of the budget process which is currently underway.  

According to the town’s website, the town administrator serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town and has three primary responsibilities:
  • Directs and manages the delivery of municipal services, except those under the jurisdiction of the independently-elected authorities;
  • Provides leadership to the Selectmen for strategic planning; and,
  • Serves as the Director of the Office of the Board of Selectmen. 

Town Administrator Kale To Receive Second Three-Year Contract

Receiving four-and-a-half (out of five) stars on the review and ranking website Yelp says a lot about how people think of a business or service.

You can add Belmont’s Town Administrator David Kale to that high-standard list as the official who manages the day-to-day operations of the town’s departments received an enthusiastic annual evaluation from the Belmont Board of Selectmen its Tuesday, Dec. 30 meeting.

“It was all very positive,” said Board Chair Andy Rojas.

During the meeting, the board announced Kale will receive a second three-year contract through July 2017 to stay in the position he’s held since August 2012.

“We are finishing the wording” in the contract, said the Cambridge-resident, who will receive a two percent cost-of-living adjustment to his current salary retroactive to July 1.

Kale’s evaluation was a tabulation of individual assessments by each selectmen, said Diane Crimmins, the town’s human resources director. The board appraised Kale’s expertise in professional tasks, public relations, organizational leadership, personnel management, leading the budget process and planning. Kale received a combined rating of 4.5 out of 5, said Crimmins.

The three selectmen praised Kale on improving morale in town personnel and working collaboratively with departments, and the school district, “which is critical is a small town like Belmont,” said Rojas.

Kale’s handling of the annual budget – which included creating a “one budget” process that requires a close working relationship between the town and the school committee and district – was sighted by the board.

“You’ve enhanced the public budget process,” said Selectman Mark Paolillo.

Kale, in turn, acknowledged the work of “a great group of department heads and employees” who “makes the work happen.”

“This is not done in a vacuum,” said Kale.