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HAMPDEN — Brian Domina was selected by the Hampden Board of Selectmen to replace outgoing Town Administrator Bob Markel.

Domina is currently the Town Administrator in Whately, a town of about 1,500 people in Franklin County. During his interview for the Hampden position, Domina spoke about several similarities between the towns. Whately is a heavily residential town with a small business community. Domina said he had experience obtaining and administering grants, multi-town shared services, a regional school district and overseeing a study to determine space needs for the town offices. One area that Domina has not had experience with is union negotiations but would rely on his team and educate himself about the process.

Board of Selectmen Chair Donald Davenport thanked the candidates, which included former Palmer Town Manager Ryan McNutt and Agawam Collector/Treasurer Christopher Caputo. He also thanked Bernie Lynch of Community Paradigm Associates, which led the executive search. All department heads were invited to give their opinions on the candidates, although Davenport said the Open Meeting Law makes deliberations difficult.

Board of Selectmen member Craig Rivest said all three candidates were qualified. While Caputo had a strong financial career, he lacked administration experience. McNutt also had “extensive” budget experience, as well a history of negotiating with unions, but Rivest said Domina was a “really good fit” for the town.

Board member John Flynn agreed that Caputo did not have the needed administrative experience. He said he had been watching meetings from Agawam, Whately and Palmer to see the candidates in action and how they interacted with boards. He said Domina had “good comportment” with the Board of Selectmen in Whately. Flynn said if any one of the candidates had been the sole applicant, “we could have made it work.”

After having combed through the resumes of the three and rewatching the interviews, Davenport agreed that Domina was the best candidate. The vote was unanimous.

Markel, who has agreed to stay on with the town as Domina is on boarding, said he would meet with Domina to go over the terms of employment with the town. Flynn said the compensation would be comparable to what Markel has received. Domina had stated during his interview that he would need to provide Whately with a 30-day notice before joining Hampden, and therefore he would not begin in the position until around the beginning of March.

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