HARWICH — The choppy waters surrounding the appointment of a new assistant town administrator have settled, with selectmen Monday night confirming Joseph Powers, currently town clerk/assistant town administrator in Wellfleet. He will begin his new job May 20.
Powers confirmed his interest in serving as the assistant here in an email to Town Administrator Christopher Clark on April 17. “I look forward to working with you in this role and am excited about working for the town of Harwich,” Powers wrote.
The selection of a new assistant town administrator was somewhat confused, with Clark, who is charged with making the appointment subject to confirmation by the board of selectmen, initially putting forward as his choice David D. Flaherty, acting town administrator in the town of Raynham.
But selectmen took no public action on the Flaherty's confirmation. After consulting with individual selectmen, Clark said he did not have the votes to confirm his choice. He put Powers' name forward on Monday's agenda. Both candidates are Harwich residents.
Selectmen on Monday night confirmed Powers without comment.
Flaherty was notified by Clark on April 1 that he would be offered the position and resigned his position in Raynham the following day. Clark's notification stated that Flaherty's appointment was subject to confirmation from the board of selectmen, and that confirmation never came.
“I withdrew his name,” Clark said. “I was unhappy. He didn't handle himself that well, resigning that night.”
Clark said the two candidates were ranked very closely.
“I'm happy to have Joe Powers on board,” Clark said. “Joe does have a stronger academic record and he is very bright and a capable individual.”
Powers has a master of arts degree in communication studies from Emerson College and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts/Boston. He is also a certified master municipal clerk.
He served as assistant town administrator in Wellfleet since 2018 and as town clerk since 2014. He was the town clerk in Braintree from 2009 to 2014. Powers was also a member of several committees in Harwich, including the bylaw/charter review committee, historic district and historical commission and the community preservation committee.
Clark said he will put together a to-do list for Powers with a focus on procurement and human resources.
Powers did not return multiple phone calls from The Chronicle on Tuesday.
Powers' starting salary will be $102,351, the same salary presented to Flaherty when the position was offered to him. However, Flaherty's salary would have been adjusted to $104,082 as of July 1, 2019. In the conditions offered to Powers, his salary will jump to $109,351 as of July 1, 2019. The appointment includes a six month probationary period.