Harwich Assistant Town Administrator Is Let Go

By: William F. Galvin

Assistant Town Administrator Evan Melillo has been terminated. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

HARWICH — Assistant Town Administrator Evan N. Melillo has not survived his extended probationary period. Town Administrator Christopher Clark said this week he made the decision to terminate the assistant town administrator's employment.

Melillo finished his last day on the job on Friday. On Monday former longtime Yarmouth town administrator Bob Lawton was back in town hall working as interim assistant town administrator. Clark said Lawton will be working two days a week, and he hopes to have a new assistant on board by April.

Melillo was selected from a pool of 52 candidates to serve as assistant town administrator at the end of May. He came from a position in Middleborough where he served as assistant to the town manager for two-and-a-half years. Melillo replaced assistant town administrator Charleen Greenhalgh, who stepped down after three years to become town planner.

“I was looking for a generalist who had a lot of different municipal experiences. Evan has that experience. It's hard to find someone who is a generalist with good municipal experience,” Clark told The Chronicle at the time of Melillo's hiring.

Clark told selectmen Monday night that in the interview process Melillo came across as a good fit to accomplish the mission required of him, but “unfortunately I didn't see enough to continue him with this organization.”

Clark said on Monday he extended the six-month probationary period for another month before making the decision to let Melillo go. “Evan has some skills and ability, but he didn't think he is a long-term answer for Harwich. He just wasn't the right fit for Harwich,” he said.

Melillo did not respond to telephone calls from The Chronicle seeking comment.

Harwich is a little bit more of a challenging place to work than other towns, Clark said. There's a lot going on, including budgets, phase one and two of the comprehensive wastewater management plan, the inter-municipal agreement on wastewater treatment with the town of Chatham and now working through an agreement with Dennis and Yarmouth for a tri-town treatment plant.

“We are a busy little town and have to have the skills and experiences to tackle these issues,” he said. “We've got to accomplish a lot on behalf of the residents of Harwich.”

Clark said he has been in public administration for 29 years and “I'd like to bring on a person I can grow and develop. It's important to have a pretty good base to help facilitate that.”

Among the skills Clark will be looking for when hiring a new assistant town administrator is procurement, human resources, project management and general management. He said he would be advertising the position this week with a salary range of $90,000 to $100,000. Melillo was hired at an annual salary of $90,632.

Clark is happy that Lawton is available to serve as the interim assistant over the next three months. Lawton was known as the dean of town administrators on the Cape for his many years of service to the town of Yarmouth.

Clark said one of the tasks he will be facing early in the year is replacing personnel. He needs to determine how to fill the town surveyor position with the retirement of longtime surveyor Paul Sweetser, and part-time assistant building inspector Richard Stevens has departed, recruited to become the Truro building inspector.