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Mark Pruhenski appointed next Great Barrington town manager

By unanimous vote, the selectboard chose Mark Pruhenski, who for almost 10 years headed the town's health department.

Great Barrington —After a months-long search for a new town manager, the selectboard has opted for a friendly face — and a familiar one.

By unanimous vote the selectboard chose Mark Pruhenski, who for almost 10 years headed the town’s health department. He was named the new chief after a brief discussion Wednesday night (September 27).

Current Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin’s contract expires at the end of June. 

Great Barrington Selectboard voting on Mark Pruhenski to become town manager. From left, Chair Steve Bannon, Ed Abrahams, Dan Bailly and Kate Burke. Photo: Terry Cowgill

The night before, the board had interviewed Pruhenski and another finalist, consultant Jonathan Edwards, who chairs the selectboard in Whatley. On Wednesday, just before selecting Pruhenski, the board interviewed Kenneth Walto, the current town manager in Dalton.

See the selectboard’s job interview Tuesday evening with new town manager Mark Pruhenski:


Earlier this month the board’s search consultant, Bernard Lynch, announced the three finalists. Lynch’s firm, Community Paradigm Associates, was hired to lead the search to find a successor for Jennifer Tabakin, who announced last summer that she would not seek to have her contract renewed when it expires at the end of June. 

Pruhenski is the current town administrator in Richmond. A collection of the resumes and cover letters of the finalists, along with summaries of their references, can be found by clicking here.

The search for a new town manager began last October when the selectboard hired Lynch to solicit applications from qualified candidates. Lynch spent time with department heads in town government and the selectboard, held a community forum, and sought feedback on the characteristics and skills needed in the next manager. The search elicited 22 applications, which were eventually narrowed to the three finalists. 

See the selectboard’s job interview Tuesday evening with finalist Jonathan Edwards:

In their deliberations, which lasted less than 12 minutes, board members clearly favored Pruhenski and Walto over Edwards. In selecting Pruhenski, board members cited his skill set: experience managing a town, knowledge of Massachusetts law, comfort with technology, collegiality and his familiarity with Great Barrington. An anonymous survey of staff concluded much the same thing.

See video below of the Great Barrington selectboard deliberating on whom to hire as the next town manager:

 

Board chair Steve Bannon said a meeting to negotiate a contract will be held in executive session at a date to be determined.

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