It’s official: McKenna’s in charge

New Town Manager James McKenna (right) shakes hands with Town Council President Thomas Reilly Tuesday night in Town Hall.

New Town Manager James McKenna (right) shakes hands with Town Council President Thomas Reilly Tuesday night in Town Hall.

By Cary Shuman
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The Winthrop Town Council voted unanimously to appoint Attorney James McKenna as the new town manager at its meeting Tuesday night in the Joseph Harvey Room.

Town Council President Thomas Reilly nominated McKenna for the town’s top administrative post, and the council members approved his nomination by an 8-0 margin. Councillor Linda Calla, who was on vacation and was therefore absent from the meeting, expressed her support for McKenna in a letter read by Councillor Russell Sanford.

McKenna, accompanied to the meeting by his wife, Susan, sat in the audience during the vote on his appointment.

Reilly summarized the town manager selection process prior to the vote. He said the town was fortunate to have the Collins Center at UMass-Boston involved in the process, citing its professionalism and assistance to the town’s five-member selection committee.

“I think the entire process was well worth it, and I think we have a great choice to lead the town in the coming years,” said Reilly. “I think Mr. McKenna is going to do an outstanding job. He is highly regarded, and we believe that he is really going to step in and do a great job here.”

The vote to appoint McKenna was followed by applause from the council and the audience.

McKenna then addressed the council in brief remarks. “I’m really honored and flattered to have been appointed as town manager,” said McKenna. “It’s a thrill always to start out on a new adventure, and this will certainly be no less with you and this community. Why I go back into public service every so often is because I love it. It’s in my blood. I live it like you folks do, and I have a passion for it that really puts all of my background and education and talents to work. I’m deeply grateful for your appointment. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

McKenna will succeed Interim Town Manager Larry Holmes in the town manager’s office. Following the completion of negotiations for his contract, he is expected to take office after a 30-day transition period.

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