Hadley Select Board gives Nixon strong marks

  • David Nixon

Staff Writer
Thursday, August 31, 2017

HADLEY — Town Administrator David Nixon is meeting most goals set by the Select Board, but should improve communication with its members and better manage time by delegating more responsibilities, according to performance evaluations released this week.

Four of the five board members, with only John Waskiewicz not participating, on Wednesday provided largely positive reviews to Nixon, who has worked in Hadley since 2005.

“David is a solid town administrator and is able to keep most ‘frogs in a bucket,’ while consistently challenged with personnel issues, changes in board composition (and the direction that may come with it), perennial naysayers and skeptics,” Chairwoman Molly Keegan wrote in her review.

But Keegan wrote that Nixon came in below the target on efforts to relocate his office to the second floor of Town Hall, one of five objectives that also included assisting the Select Board in creating a five-year strategic plan, assisting the board in implementing this plan, improving financial reporting and completing personnel policies and wage study.

The reviews came after Nixon issued a self-evaluation in July and suggested new goals, which the Select Board will set next month.

“I was very pleased to hear the positive reviews of the Select Board,” Nixon said on Thursday.

Nixon said he will pay attention to areas that need improvement and seek to address concerns that were raised.

The evaluation comes several months after the Select Board agreed to a new contract that would keep Nixon in Hadley through June 30, 2020. That contract calls for paying Nixon $91,940 per year, with annual pay raises scheduled into July 1, 2019, when he’ll earn $95,655 per year.

The longest serving board member, Joyce Chunglo, in her summary, wrote that Nixon is not one to “sleep” on the job.

“David works extremely hard for the citizens of Hadley to make sure the town runs efficiently and is financially stable,” Chunglo wrote.

She cited his efforts to improve communication, including forums prior to Town Meetings, completing the wage and classification study and developing the five-year strategic plan.

Chunglo gave Nixon highest marks, known as “role model,” in all categories except shaping and driving strategy, where she asked him to hold more people accountable.

Donald Pipczynski, the lone member to vote against contract renewal because of what he termed Nixon’s heavy-handed approach, was more critical than other members in his evaluation, but noted that he gave better marks than the previous year.

“In the last year we have opened the door of communication and it’s beginning to result in better performance for town government in Hadley,” Pipczynski wrote.

But Nixon, he wrote, still needs to develop improved communication with board members, and have better financial acumen.

Gerry Devine praised Nixon’s work.

“I think David has done a great job in juggling his personal and professional life this year. I hope he has a far simpler year next year,” Devine wrote.

Devine, too, cited the need for more communication.

“I would like a little more info to the whole Select Board,” he wrote.