Originally posted at 12:10 p.m. on June 21. Updated at 4 p.m. on June 21:
When asked about the possibility of applying for the permanent Town Manager position in his interview for interim Town Manager, Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. replied, “never say never.”
Since being named interim Town Manager, the question remained as to whether Feaster would indeed apply. On Thursday he ended any speculation saying "I'm putting my hat in the ring."
Following a meeting with his department heads the morning of June 21, Feaster announced to members of the press that he will apply for the permanent Town Manager position.
"I prayed on it and discussed my decision with my wife Phyllis and we decided that I should seek the position," Feaster said in a prepared statement for the media.
"During the past nearly three months, I have had an opportunity to learn the position and to work with dedicated and effective department heads, municipal and school employees, a supportive Board of Selectmen, the FinCom, and elected Town Meeting Representatives," he continued.
Feaster, a Stoughton resident since 1998, became the interim Town Manager on April 1 of this year and was .
He succeeded , who had served for two years as Stoughton’s Town Manager, before in January 2012. Crimmins’ last day in office was March 31.
Feaster, 62, said he has "enjoyed the challenges of the position," and said he was "encouraged by the many Stoughton residents and prior Stoughton elected officials who have asked him to stay on as Town Manager."
Feaster indicated he wasn't expecting any special treatment when applying for the permanent job.
"There's no inside game here," he said, noting he will submit an application and follow the process.
The town is paying $18,750 to Municipal Resources, Inc. (MRI), a firm which will assist the Town Manager Search Committee in the process of hiring a permanent town manager.
At their , the Stoughton Board of Selectmen indicated they would be looking for an experienced candidate.
A memo drafted by Selectman Bob O'Regan said "Preference will be given to candidates who have a master’s degree in public or business administration and at least 5 years’ experience as a town or city manager, an assistant town or city manager."
But the door was left open for candidates with experience in other fields, with the memo continuing, "or a manager in a similar public-sector position; or other relevant experience in local government, public administration, or management."
Feaster believes he is qualified.
"I'd put my political skills, planning skills, budgeting skills, leadership skills up against any candidate," he said.
Prior to becoming the interim Town Manager, he served as interim administrator of the Boston Housing Authority; was part of the Boston Board of Appeal; was a past President of the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council; and held leadership positions with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Executive Office of Administration and Finance. He was also an Associate and Assistant General Counsel for Prudential Insurance Co. and was an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.
Feaster serves as counsel for McKenzie & Associates, P.C., and offers legal consulting to a number of organizations, but this has taken a back seat to his duties as interim Town Manager.
As interim Town Manager, Feaster has been visible, taking part in a number of town events. He is believed to be the first Town Manager to speak at the Stoughton High graduation, where he delivered an address to the .
"To me, that's part of doing the job. I work for the community," he said.
Feaster also worked with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi in smoothing over existing tensions between the two ends of Pearl St. He said speaking at graduation was an example of not just saying you have bridged relations with the schools, but showing it with actions.
"We're one town," Feaster said.
Feaster interviewed for the position of interim Town Manager on . Stoughton Board of Selectmen voted later that evening to enter into contract negotiations with the attorney. On , Feaster agreed to terms on a contract that expires on July 31, 2012.
Feaster said he hopes the contract will be extended, as the search process for a permanent Town Manager is not expected to be complete by July 31.