PEPPERELL -- Pepperell is looking for a new town administrator.

The new hire might be guiding the town through needed capital improvements or cost-cutting measures.

When Town Administrator John Moak retired at the end of June he agreed to remain with the town part-time until his replacement is found.

"He's willing to stick with us and help us out until we put somebody in place," Selectman Michael Green said. "Given the difficulties that Pepperell's faced, it shows an example of his team spirit."

Green, the chairman of both the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator search committee, said the town began advertising the position less than a month ago.

Pepperell voters narrowly defeated a Proposition 2 1/2 override at a town meeting held in June. Officials wanted to know the results of the override before beginning the search for a new administrator, Green said.

Another special town meeting on an override will be held Sept. 2. The amount requested is larger than what was included in the earlier warrant.

"I looked at all the work the Finance Committee had done," Green said. "I could find more justification for increasing the amount."

"Our infrastructure needs investment," he said.

If the override passes at town meeting and at the polls on Sept. 9, the town will have a chance to make needed capital improvements. The new town administrator could be overseeing those improvements.

If the second attempt at the override fails, the town administer will face other challenges.


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The town will need to consolidate building use, Green said. "We don't have much staff to restructure.

The search committee will hold its first meeting next week. They plan to review the applications that have already been submitted.

They will be looking for a candidate who has many of the same strengths as Moak.

"John's been an excellent team builder and coach," Green said. "He's been a good leader. He's gotten things done quickly, completely and thoroughly."

Moak, a former mayor of Newburyport, was the town administrator for 4 1/2 years before retiring. He brought a solid knowledge of municipal government and has many contacts across the state, Green said.

Hiring a business executive such as a chief financial officer or chief executive officer at a point later in their career might also be a good choice for Pepperell, Green said.

Whoever takes the job will face the uncertainties that go along with the town budget. "There can be large swings," Green said. The state uses various formulas for determining aid amounts in different parts of the budget. The school budget is uncertain.

In addition to Green, who serves as chairman, the volunteer search committee consists of three town department heads and three at-large members. One of the at-large members is a former selectman.