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Mixed Grades For Duggan In Annual Performance Review

Oct 17, 2016 09:39PM ● By Bill Gilman

Town Manager Jim Duggan (file photo)

Town Manager James Duggan received mixed grades from the Board of Selectmen during his recent annual performance review.
The results of the review, made public during the Oct. 11 Selectmen's meeting, seemed to accurately reflect feedback Duggan has received from selectmen on a variety of issues during his second year on the job.
Duggan was graded on a scale of 1-5 in six separate categories, with each category broken down into multiple sub-categories. He received the highest average grade in Personal and Professional Conduct (3.45), while the lowest scores were in the area of Personnel Management and Organizational Leadership (2.84).
Other scores were:
3.39 in Board Support and Relations
3.33 in Financial Management
3.26 in Community Leadership/Public Relations
3.35 in Town Operations/Infrastructure
(NOTE: A complete breakdown of Duggan's grades from each selectman can be found in a PDF file attached to this story, above.)
"I'm proud to be the town manager of Dracut," said Duggan. "I love this job and this community. I appreciate your candor, honesty and direction."
Each of the selectmen said they had spoken to Duggan about their grades in advance of the meeting but each offered public comments on their grades and Duggan's overall performance.
Duggan received his lowest marks from Selectman Joe DiRocco, who has been his most consistent critic on the board during his tenure. DiRocco gave Duggan a score of 2 in every single sub-category. 
"There have been some things that I have not been happy with, such as the Firefighters contract, the police contract and the ambulance contract," said DiRocco.
Selectman Tony Archinski, one of Duggan's strongest backers on the board, took pride in having given the town manager his highest grades in the evaluation. Archinski gave Duggan mostly 4's and 5's, with no score lower than 3.
"I believe the town manager has performed his duties above and beyond," said Archinski. "I commend you on your (positive) 'can do' attitude, Jim."
Selectman Jesse Forcier, the newest member of the board, gave Duggan largely positive grades (3.74 average) but said he did have some concerns. His lowest marks for the town manager were in the area of Financial Management.
"I looked at each question individually. I didn't judge any question based on any other score," said Forcier. "I scored some very low and I scored some very high."
Selectman Tami Dristilaris admitted to submitting her evaluation at the 11th hour because she had included lengthy comments on each question. Overall, she said she was pleased with Duggan's performance and gave scores with an average of 3.33.
"I think Mr. Duggan understands how our town thinks," she said. "We talk at length each week. I'm pleased to say I think things are improving. I think we have someone who is working in the town's best interests."
Chairman Allison Hughes had complimentary things to say about Duggan, though her grading average of 2.93 indicated tough scoring in the areas of Financial Management and Personnel Management.
"I think we have a strong leader in Jim Duggan," said Hughes. "I think he is doing a good job (but) I think there have been a couple of missteps."

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