PROVINCETOWN — Robin Craver led her first meeting as town manager at 9 a.m. Tuesday, just hours after the select board announced on Monday night that they had agreed to the terms of her contract.
“I can tell you, she is tough,” Select Board Member Louise Venden said of Craver. “I spent many hours negotiating her contract.… She is clear and has high expectations of herself and of us, and I think we will get along well.”
The select board unanimously picked Craver, 59, of Webster, because she was the only candidate with experience as a town administrator in Massachusetts. Her 19 years in that job included 13 in Charlton, a Worcester suburb.
Craver’s three-year contract includes a $190,000 salary, with increases based on a performance review, and a $9,000 housing bonus. She is required to live in Provincetown. Craver told the Independent she has a property rented already.
“Everyone in town has been absolutely fabulous,” Craver said after the meeting on Monday.
Her contract has a six-month probationary period, during which she may be let go without severance pay. After that, if she is terminated or asked to resign, the select board will give her a “lump sum cash payment equal to eight months base salary.”
Other benefits include five weeks paid vacation, but she needs advance approval of the select board for any planned absences longer than five days.
“The town manager’s duties require that she be on duty and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the contract states.
Craver replaces the former town manager, David Panagore, who left to become chief administrative officer of the Mass. Bay Transportation Authority in April. Panagore still keeps an apartment in Provincetown. He was being paid around $170,000 at the time he left. The search committee recommended offering a higher salary in order to attract top candidates.
Despite the salaries, town administrator and town manager jobs are difficult to fill long-term. Most town administrators have a “shelf life” of six years, said Rick Murray, chair of the town manager search committee.
Truro Town Administrator Rae Ann Palmer is retiring in June after five years. Wellfleet Town Administrator Dan Hoort announced on Friday that he will be leaving his job in June after four years.
With the difficulties of the position in mind, several Provincetown select board members thanked David Gardner, the assistant town manager, for filling in as the town’s leader for several months.
“I think a vacation is in your future,” said David Abramson, the select board chair.
“Booked today,” Gardner said.
At the end of the meeting, Gardner could be seen carrying a potted plant from the town manager’s office to the town hall basement, where he normally works.
Craver, who is married and just celebrated the birth of a grandchild, said the first order of business will be completing the town budget, which must be ready for voters at the April town meeting.
She has a couple of ideas carried over from her time in Charlton that she would like to discuss with department heads and the select board. One is the practice of holding monthly department head meetings at businesses and community buildings. The meetings could, theoretically, be held anywhere outside of town hall.
And she wants to broach the possibility of a student select person. In Charlton, she said, a high school junior or senior held the post and it worked well for students and the community.