If there was one thing all three finalists for the town manager position had in common, is that they like a good challenge.
Participating in interviews with the selectmen Tuesday night, Norfolk Town Administrator Jack Hathaway, Dedham Town Administrator Bill Keegan, and former Wayland Town Administrator Fred Turkington said the appeal of working in a small New England town with large entities like the Kraft Group and Schneider Electric (formerly Invensys) made the job attractive.
Hathaway, who has worked in Norfolk since 2003 and as their town administrator since 2005, said he’s been thinking about the position since former Town Manager Andy Gala’s retirement in 2010 but did not feel it was the right time back then.
“Foxboro, I look at it as a mid-sized down but it still has that small time New England feel. I’m going to be here a long time and a lot of hours during the week and I want to be somewhere that I enjoy,” Hathaway said.
Hathaway added that he has some experience working with the Kraft Group. During the construction of Patriot Place, some Norfolk residents near Route 1 were worried about traffic and the impact the shopping center could have on their neighborhood.
“I had a taste of the challenge and it’s a significant challenge. It’s a whole different scale dealing with the developers of Norfolk because they don’t have the resources the Kraft Group has,” Hathaway said.
Like Hathaway, Keegan was drawn to Foxboro due to its dual identity of a small town that is also an attraction for sports fans and concert goers.
“This presents me an interesting challenge, the whole Kraft thing with the stadium. It’s a small town that wants to keep its identity with a world class venue. You have to respect the Kraft Group but at the same time you have a community that wants to maintain its character,” Keegan said.
Turkington also mentioned in his interview that the chance to take on a challenge like Gillette Stadium drew him to the opening.
“I think Foxboro is a great combination of a small New England community but it also has great challenges in Route 1 and the Kraft Group,” Turkington said.
Both Keegan and Turkington have experience working in towns with lifestyle centers that are similar but are not the same as Patriot Place. In 2008, Keegan oversaw the arrival of Legacy Place to Dedham while Turkington’s time as the chief administrative officer of Canton, CT saw the construction of The Shoppes at Farmington Valley.
Turkington also said there were efforts to construct a large lifestyle center near Raytheon's former office in Wayland but the project ended up stalling due to restrictive zoning bylaws and mixed opinions on the project from residents.
During the week, the board is expected to meet with officials who have worked with the three men before deliberating and making a decision at the next selectmen meeting on Feb. 4. Negotiations are expected to start immediately after the selectmen choose a new town manager.
Later this week, Foxborough Patch will take a more in depth look at the candidates' interviews.