Whenever there is a vacancy for a town/city manager’s position anywhere and this time it is nearby Chelsea (where Jay Ash will be accepting a cabinet post in Governor-Elect Charlie Baker’s administration) — it’s almost automatic that James McKenna’s name pops up — not because he is looking to leave Winthrop — but simply because he has done such a tremendous job here that it’s only natural that other communities would look to McKenna as the leading candidate if he were to apply. The fact is James McKenna was the right man at the right time for Winthrop and those individuals who selected him for the town manager’s post deserve a lot of credit for bringing him here. Helped by a cohesive Town Council, led by President Peter Grill, our town manager has so many accomplishments that he can point to and can declare that this town has moved in a positive direction — and (as Tony Bennett would sing) the best is yet to come.
The purchase of a brand new ferry by the town is the latest wise and sound decision by our town manager. Rather than move hastily into a business arrangement or contract a vendor to run the ferry, McKenna sought out the best possible option for ferry service for Winthrop and his decision was to have a company build a 73-passenger ferry that will be owned by the town. Winthrop’s share of the cost was put into an account last year, so basically the purchase will not affect this year’s budget, which is just another example of our town manager’s foresight.
So the answer is yes — Chelsea would love for James McKenna to submit an application and continue the fine work that Jay Ash has done in that city. We know from the positive reception Mr. McKenna generated when he appeared at a recent conference in Chelsea that Chelsea’s city leaders know well of all the great things that have been accomplished in Winthrop since Jim McKenna took office.
We hope our town manager will stay here and continue the town’s progress, but you can be sure that like star baseball pitchers and free agents Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, there will be other organizations interested in his services.