PROVINCETOWN — The select board will choose among three women who have been named finalists in the search for the next town manager. All three will be interviewed by the board in open session on Dec. 16, and the board will vote on Dec. 17.
The candidates are Marie Broadbent, town manager of Berwyn, Md.; Robin Leal Craver, town administrator of Charlton; and Diana Prideaux-Brune, the deputy director of planning and development for the Cambridge Housing Authority.
“They are three very, very intelligent women,” Rick Murray, the chair of the search committee, told the select board Monday.
Murray said the candidates were variously described as bright, effective, not easily rattled, and not autocratic in style, which he listed as characteristics he felt were crucial.
“ ‘Does not have a big ego,’ ‘solutions-focused,’ ‘has a sense of humor,’ ‘has empathy’ — we wanted to make sure that they had that characteristic or some inkling of it,” he said.
The search committee received 42 applications, more than expected given the isolated location and the fact that town manager positions are drawing about 25 applicants on average, said Bernard Lynch of Community Paradigm Associates, the town’s search consultant.
This speaks to the appeal of Provincetown and the outreach his group conducted, Lynch said. It may also have to do with the salary, which the search committee has recommended setting as high as $200,000 a year with a $30,000 housing stipend.
That amount is just a recommendation, Murray said. It will be up to the select board to negotiate a final offer. Former Town Manager David Panagore, who left in April, earned $165,353 and received a $6,000 annual housing stipend.
All three finalists will meet the public on Monday, Dec. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Provincetown Commons, followed by public interviews with the select board from 5 to 9 p.m. The interviews will not be broadcast live on PTV, the government channel, but they will be shown at a later date, said David Abramson, chair of the select board.
Broadbent, a Maryland native, began her 30 years in government as a Cape Cod National Seashore naturalist from 1986 to 1987.
“I turned 21 there,” she said by phone Tuesday.
She turned 54 in Provincetown this August during Carnival, she said. Her government work began with environmental concerns. She graduated from Unity College in Maine, where she served as the college’s first sustainability and recycling coordinator from 1992 to 1994, according to her resume.
In 2018 she became town manager of Berwyn, with approximately 4,000 residents. Before that she was the director of the Office of Environmental Policy in Annapolis, Md. and the director of the Annapolis Dept. of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs. Before moving to Maryland, Broadbent worked for Newport, R.I. as “clean city coordinator” for 11 years, from 1994 to 2005.
She said she had lots of experience with sustainability and floodplain management.
As the ombudsman for the city of Rockville, Md., she is used to public relations and problem solving, she said.
The Facebook flaps that have torn Provincetown apart in the past are nothing new to her, she said.
“Sometimes you have to get beyond the way things are said, and look at what they are saying,” she said. “It’s an art.”
Broadbent has a cat named Lexington.
“I am gay,” she said, when asked about her personal life. “Provincetown is a natural fit for me.”
Robin Leal Craver
Craver has been the town administrator of Charlton for 13 years. The town, which is near Worcester, has close to 13,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census.
The accomplishments listed on her resume include negotiating a $30 million settlement for the town of Charlton with ExxonMobil to abate water contamination. She also negotiated a $10 million water infrastructure project with Casella Waste Systems and the town of Southbridge to provide water to Charlton residents affected by contamination from the Southbridge landfill, her resume stated.
Before becoming a town administrator, she was president and CEO of R&R Development from 2005 to 2006, during which she constructed two single-family homes in Webster. She has a construction supervisor’s license.
Craver graduated from Bristol-Plymouth Regional Vocational Technical High School in Taunton. Both Craver and Broadbent have master’s degrees in public administration.
Craver wants to be town manager in Provincetown because of her interests in climate change, the environment, and economic development, she said Tuesday by phone from Oregon, where she was attending the birth of her first grandchild.
“It seems there is a nexus in Provincetown where those areas are critical to its survival,” she said. “I would like to work on a regional solution. We cannot do it alone.”
Among the comments in Craver’s references was this: “Her negotiating skills are superior. She went toe to toe with ExxonMobil and held her own, negotiating a good deal for the town. We could have ended up settling for $15 million due to water contamination from gasoline spills that happened decades ago, but Robin convinced us to keep pushing and ultimately the town got a $30 million settlement and a water line connecting homes affected to water provided by Southbridge.”
Craver, 59, is married with two grown children. She lives in Webster on Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, said to have the longest name of any place in the U.S. She said she is familiar with the “swells and contractions” of tourist areas.
For the past four years Prideaux-Brune has been the deputy director for planning and development at the Cambridge Housing Authority. This followed a year and a half as senior project manager for the state’s school building authority. She was associate vice president for facilities at Williams College from 2008 to 2012, and special assistant for economic development for the University of Massachusetts in Lowell from 1998 to 2004. She held the UMass job longer than any other in her career.
Prideaux-Brune graduated from Cornell University in 1989 with a master’s degree in historic preservation planning and worked as chief planner for the city of Lowell from 1994 to 1996.
Her career highlights include financing and closing on six housing renovation projects that encompassed more than 600 affordable units, according to her resume.
She developed and negotiated a $250,000 partnership with Boston Medical Center to provide improved health services to elderly and disabled residents.
Her references in the packet of information about her included this comment: “Her biggest project at the Housing Authority has been a $105 million 19-story high-rise with 300 units for elderly/disabled residents. She and her team are responsible for putting together the requisitions for investors, banks, etc., and everything has to be to the penny. She is responsible for changing orders, costing out, etc. She is very good with detailed finance work.”
Another person described her as “intelligent, low-key, professional, gutsy, and highly skilled. She understands the technical and the strategic aspects of projects and planning for a community.”
Prideaux-Brune did not return a call for comment by the deadline for this edition.