Cambridge begins assessing candidates for next city manager | News

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An initial selection committee made up of Cambridge councillors, representatives of community organizations and local residents began meeting to assess candidates for Cambridge’s next city manager, the city’s most powerful government post.

The 19-person committee held its first of three full-day closed meetings to assess and interview candidates for the job last week. The group will meet again on Friday and Saturday to continue deliberations.

A wide range of representatives from city institutions, including the school board, Cambridge Housing Authority, Kendall Square Association and Cambridge Bike Safety, sit on the committee alongside four councillors.

In an interview last month, Councilor Marc C. McGovern, who oversaw the committee’s selection process, said more than 100 Cambridge residents had applied for one of 15 non-councillor spots on the committee. . McGovern said he and the Council prioritized selecting members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

“When you look at the people we’ve chosen, it’s about as diverse of a committee as you’ve ever seen in the city in many ways,” he said. “Not perfect, absolutely not perfect. But I think we did a really good job of trying to balance it all out.

The Rev. Vernon K. Walker, an official with the nonprofit Communities Responding to Extreme Weather and a member of the selection committee, told The Crimson in April that he would be looking for municipal leadership candidates who prioritize supporting marginalized groups.

“It’s important to have that voice at the table representing communities that are disproportionately impacted by extreme weather and the climate crisis,” Walker said.

Thomas J. Lucey, Harvard’s director of government and community relations and a member of the selection committee, wrote in a statement that he looks forward to a partnership between Harvard and the new director on “a broad range of common interests.”

Cambridge school committee vice-chairman Rachel B. Weinstein, who also sits on the selection committee, said in an interview last month that she hopes the next headmaster will invest heavily in public education.

“We want a city manager who will go above and beyond the funding required by the state to give our schools and really give our young people the opportunities and resources they deserve,” she said.

Following its three meetings, the committee will select a group of finalists who will be evaluated at public hearings next month. Council will then select a candidate to replace current City Manager Louis A. DePasquale, who plans to retire in June.

In the interview, McGovern raised the possibility that the selected candidate might not be ready to take over by June and said contingency plans may need to be in place.

“We’re going to have to make some sort of decision as to who’s running the show,” he said. “Are we keeping Louis for a few months?” Are we nominating someone else? It’s a whole other ball of wax that we have to ponder and ponder.

—Editor Elias J. Schisgall can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @eschisgall.

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