Town Manager James McKenna received a strong report card from the Town Council on the evaluation that the nine-member council performs each year. The manager’s performance and leadership abilities are graded in 10 different categories by each member of the Council with a range of scores from one to five and, as Town Councilor James Letterie reported at Tuesday’s meeting, the manager was at or near the upper end of the ladder in virtually evey area.
The fact that McKenna is exhibiting excellent leadership certainly affirms both those who initially made the choice to name him as the town manager and then the Town Council’s subsequent decision a year go to extend his contract. McKenna has been an outstanding leader who has implemented changes that have improved the way our town government functions. There are several accomplishments that the town manager could take credit for, but McKenna is a team player and would no doubt spread the credit to others such as his department heads. The manager has been a creative thinker and one who has made some tough decisions to as he guided the town through its financial crisis.
We can offer the most recent example of McKenna’s brilliance and innovativeness. At Tuesday’s meeting Facilities Manager Gerry Boyle said that McKenna sent him on a fact-finding mission to Gloucester’s Newell Stadium (as Winthrop looks at the possible renovation or rebuilding of Miller Field). Why Gloucester and not nearby to new stadiums in Everett or Lynn? Because the manager somehow knew that Gloucester’s football field has the same soil conditions as Miller Field. The manager understands how important Miller Field is to this town’s athletic teams and residents and he is working behind the scenes to make something happen there.
McKenna is the right man at the right time to lead our town. There is no doubt that he in charge at Town Hall and has his finger on the pulse of everything that is happening in our town. He’s brought professionalism, clarity, accessibility, accountability, and vision to the most important position in our town. Jim McKenna said at Tuesday’s meeting that he loves this town and considers it an honor and privilege to be its town manager. The Council and the town manager have Winthrop moving in a positive direction and with some big decisions ahead (such as the middle school/high school construction proposal), we’re pleased that President Peter Gill and Town Manager James McKenna have the town rolling toward even better days ahead.