Dartmouth's new town administrator is now on the job

By Douglas McCulloch | Jul 09, 2018
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Shawn MacInnes sits at his desk in Town Hall.

It might be Shawn MacInnes' first week on the job as Dartmouth's new town administrator, but he already picked his favorite coffee shop: Mirasol’s Cafe, although he confessed he has yet to try the famed caffeine-filled Chippi.

The Worcester native and Sandwich resident's first day on the job as town administrator was July 9, nearly two months after the Select Board chose him for the post over two other final candidates. His first day was jam packed with meetings and meet-and-greets, but it was made a little easier thanks to work he did before he started.

“I took the opportunity before I got started to meet with a number of town hall staff so I could hit the ground running,” MacInnes said.

MacInnes, who replaces former town administrator David Cressman, noted now is the perfect time to take the helm of a town moving forward. With several major construction projects underway or set to begin soon -- a new police headquarters, branch library, maritime center, and roof projects at Dartmouth Middle School and town hall -- there is a lot to do.

“It’s an exciting time to be here,” MacInnes said. “It shows Dartmouth is a progressive town when residents show their support for their police and libraries.”

Although this is his first time serving as a town administrator, he is no stranger to municipal government. An engineer by trade, he began his career at the Yarmouth Department of Public Works. He gradually worked his way up to the town's municipal operations director, a post he held for 21 years.

He does not have any major sweeping changes ready for the town. MacInnes said his first few weeks will be focused on getting settled into his new position and meeting with department heads and other officials to determine each department’s needs.

He did, however, highlight two major initiatives he hopes to get started quickly. He hopes to boost collaboration between the town and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. To that end, he’s already met with John Hoey, the university’s Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, and more meetings are being scheduled with university officials to discuss the idea further.

He also plans to leverage his technical skills to boost the town’s online offerings and increase the number of things visitors to the town website can do online.

“It’s beneficial for productivity to provide a 24/7 town hall environment to the public,” MacInnes said.

For now, MacInnes is living in Sandwich with his wife Deanna and his newly licensed to drive daughter Lola, but he did not rule out a potential move to Dartmouth once he settles into his role. His commute on his first day was almost exactly 40 minutes.

MacInnes was one of 49 applicants to the position last year, after former town administrator David Cressman announced his retirement to spend more time with his North Shore family.

An outside consulting firm narrowed the field down to a final list of eight for interviews with a screening committee. Three final candidates were interviewed by the full Select Board: MacInnes, Warren Rutherford, and Robert Peabody.

The Select Board voted 4-1 to pick MacInnes for the position. He signed a three-year contract with the town earlier in the month.

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