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Dracut Town Manager Gets Passing Grades At Review

Jan 09, 2019 02:36PM ● By Lisa Redmond

Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan.

DRACUT - When Town Manager James Duggan was hired in 2014 his management style was "like a bull in a China shop,'' Selectman Chairman Jesse Forcier told Duggan's during the manager's performance review on Tuesday.

But over the years, Forcier said he has seen Duggan "knock off some of those rough edges'' creating good feelings in Town Hall and the community. 

As a result, Duggan earned an average score of 3.75 out of a total of 5 in a review of different aspects of his job, including professionalism, financial management, leadership and personnel. Of the five members of the board, Duggan received a low score of 2.67 from one member and a high of 4.58 from another, Forcier said.

"I considered your leadership in every category to be an improvement from last time, '' said Forcier, who has sometimes butted heads with Duggan.

Selectman Tony Archinsky reminded people that the evaluation is subjective, but noted that he gave Duggan a 4.45 because his performance is "above the level of satisfactory'' while there is "always a little room for improvement.''

Archinsky, a retired Dracut police lieutenant and former union president, reminded Duggan that the town's unions are "not the enemy.'' 

Archinsky praised Duggan for participating and being the face of Town Hall within the community, sending the message that "Dracut is open for business.''

Selectman Joseph DiRocco Jr. noted that Duggan has done well in the area of economic development, but there continues to be a problem with "personnel stuff and litigation.''

Selectwoman Allison Hughes described Duggan as a "great champion for Dracut,'' who is always promoting the town.

As for personnel issues, Hughes noted that the town has only had a professional human resources director for 18 months, so she expects to see an improvement.

In  echoing her fellow board member's feelings, Selectwoman Tami Dristiliaris said, "I think there was definitely been improvement.'' She praised Duggan for "moving the town forward.''

Duggan, who has worked in municipal government for 31 year,  told the board he doesn't take their criticisms personally, but values them.

The board anticipates discussing Duggan's salary increase at its next meeting. When Duggan renewed his contract in 2017 his base salary was $170,000, but he is allowed a merit-based percentage increase..

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