Cohasset Town Manager Chris Senior Gets All A’s in 6 month review

Cohasset selectmen really like their town manager.

 In a 5-0 vote selectmen gave Cohasset Town Manager Chris Senior a Meets (High) Expectations and Exceeds Expectations in almost every category in his 6 month evaluation.Six months from now Senior’s staff will also evaluate him in what is called a 360 degree review. They will evaluate him at the same time he is evaluating them.

The board’s only criticism was that  Senior definitely works too hard.

Comments from Select Chair Diane Kennedy:

We needed the temperature turned down; you did that very well, very masterfully.

In six months Chris has made a tremendous positive impact on Cohasset. Inheriting a culture influenced for over a decade by municipal growing pains, he immediately recognized the need to reshape the position of Town Manager through careful employee relations, by working with and building consnesus among elected and appointed officials, by recognizing the complexities of the relationships among the various stakeholders and utliatmely, by guiding the conversations of those in town government towards that which is in the best interest of the Town of Cohasset – and our residents.

His commitment to diplomacy and consensus building is critical to moving the many complex projects and conversations forward. She added that Chris also recognized the town’s critical need to build a Human Resources (HR) structure, but did so in a measured way – by not rushing out to hire an HR director.

Vice Chair Steve Gaumer said:

The key to Chris’ early success has been his availability to stakeholders of all stripes, willingness to listen to each, and to clearly communicate his intended actions to all parties. Gaumer pointed to Chris’ school department budget negotiations, his priority reset with IT, and an engagement with StatNet. “Each in their own way had the capacity to cause disruption to the status quo, though each is proceeding and producing results with little dissent.

Gaumer added that Chris would benefit from setting firm time frames for tackling larger tasks in the coming six months, including follow-through on RFPs for contracted services, conducting a process to appoint a permanent police chief.

Gaumer and the entire town were impressed that Chris was able, when all others had failed, to put up a workable website.

Martha Gjesteby, clerk said:

When citizens meet Chris his unassuming manner, open door policy, and cheerful, positive thinking impress them. The turmoil of the last several years has abated (but) there are some who will never be convinced, as it is ‘their way of the high-way.’ We are fortunate to have found such a competent, bright and learned employee.

Karen Quigleys comments:

Chris entered a highly political, divisive and to a great extent, dysfunctional workplace…He used his experience as well as management and mediation / negotiation skills to lower the tenor of town government, fostering a more cooperative and collegial atmosphere.

Quigley pointed to ability to complete the budget, to move OPEB solutions forward, to recognize the need to hire a Human Resources (HR) consultant, asserting oversight to the IT (technology) plan, to commence with a Professional Management Program, and to initiate technological advances such as GIS mapping and Visual Budget.

Chris uses his extensive experience in municipal government to approach Cohasset’s challenges / needs with an objective perspective and innovate solutions. While respecting the past, he is leading us to the future.

He established himself quickly and deliberately but without fanfare as the new town manager.

Quigley reminded her board that they had used a professional search team that provided them with a high level of candidates. “A citizen told me, you can’t make a bad decision here.” True. But I think we made the best decision.

Kevin McCarthys comments:

Chris is very good at recognizing and articulating opposing views when addressing problems or a possible conflict – thus he is able to effectively seek and achieve sustainable compromise.

He is very open to new and creative solutions to a better and more efficient government. His timely rollout of the new town website and the virtual finance initiatives are good examples.

He appears very knowledgeable about his position as a town manager and yet he remains willing and eager to engage in new learning and training for himself and others.


Note: Senior has told selectmen of his plan to become a Credentialed Manager through the International City / County Management Association (ICMA). He plans to attend a ICMA conference in Charlotte, NC this fall. This association offers knowledge sharing with peers across service, state and national boundaries, both online and in person.

© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed