July 15, 2008

Billerica Inks Contract With New Manager; Will See Him Paid $135G

By Jennifer Myers, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Jul. 15--BILLERICA -- It's official. The selectmen ratified, and Bill Williams signed, an employment contract last night, locking the 60-year-old New York native in as Billerica's new town manager.

Williams, who will retire from his position as the village manager of Port Chester, N.Y., at the end of the month, begins working in Billerica on Sept. 2 at an annual salary of $135,000. Former Town Manager Rocco Longo, who resigned in February to become the town administrator of Marshfield, was earning $130,000 per year.

"We wish you a long and prosperous stay," Selectmen Chairman Jim O'Donnell said to Williams. "You have a terrific team who will have you up to speed in no time."

Williams beat out Swampscott Town Administrator Andrew Maylor and former Stratford, Conn., Chief Administrative Officer Mark Haddad for the position.

Selectmen praised Williams' team-building attitude and easy-going personality in making their decision.

Williams and his wife, Debby, will be moving into a rental unit at Princeton Properties on Boston Road next month as they try to sell their home in New York.

"It's a pleasure to be here and an honor to accept the appointment of the board officially," Williams said.

In other business, the town's new Web site was presented to selectmen last night.

Farid Khelfaoui, son of Billerica Public Schools Technology Director Salah Khelfaoui, has been designing the new site for the last two months. It is expected to be fully

up and running by the end of the summer.

Residents frequently complain that the town's current Web site is not always up to date or easy to navigate.

For instance, the only meetings or events posted on the community calendar page are those of the Conservation Commission, and the only agendas or minutes posted are those of the selectmen, which are never current.

"There was a lot of data, but a very flat layout," Khelfaoui said of the current site.

Some departments, such a the police, fire, and DPW, have broken away and created their own Web sites, which have received praise from residents.

The new site, Khelfaoui said, will be easier for anyone familiar with simple office computer programs to update, leaving the responsibility of adding information to each town department.

The new site also will include up-to-the-minute traffic information through Google, weather conditions and a seven-day forecast updated every 15 minutes, and a video gallery that can host town-made videos or link to 34-video hosting site, such as YouTube.

"We've been waiting for this for a long time," said Selectman Chairman Jim O'Donnell.


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