Mansfield town manager Bill Ross told selectmen at their last meeting he wants to stay on for another three-year term, and the four board members present responded with enthusiasm, voting to accept his letter of interest.
"I welcome the opportunity to continue," Ross said, giving official notice in writing of his willingness to negotiate for another three years, as is required by his contract.
Chairman Jess Aptowitz noted Ross is just finishing up his second year and said board members will be entering into a formal evaluation process soon.
"We need to give him a feeling of where we need to go," Aptowitz said.
Board members expressed appreciation and relief at the news.
"I'm thrilled to see it," said selectman Olivier Kozlowski. "It's been great to have you and your past lives to call on."
Ross has accumulated years of community administrative experience in the Midwest, most recently in Jackson, MI., and has brought lessons learned in a number of cities and towns to Mansfield.
"I'm very happy you'd like to continue on," said selectman Doug Annino. "The job you are doing is tremendous - you are showing leadership both to the board and the people in town."
Aptowitz noted he and selectman Kevin Moran, who was absent, were on the search committee that selected Ross as the finalist in November 2009 after a long search, and said, "This has worked out fantastic," Aptowitz said. "The people, overall, are very pleased.
"There is a certain aura to the building, and the staff feel comfortable coming to you with departmental issues."
Aptowitz noted Ross had bought a home here, and had made a commitment to the town, and said, "We have to make a commitment to you."
Aptowitz said the board would wait until all members were present before making a formal motion to negotiate another contract with Ross.
The contract states the manager must declare his interest to continue his employment situation a year before the expiration of his term, and at that point, the selectmen have six months to decide whether to enter into negotiations.
"I have truly enjoyed working with all of you," Ross said, emphasizing his efforts at cost containment, street improvements and redevelopment issues in the downtown district. He has also worked on the re-licensing of the Comcast Center and recently helped complete the process of auctioning off surplus town vehicles and equipment, netting the town $160,000.
He declined a scheduled pay raise in April, saying times were tight for everyone.