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Monroe names former Mass. official as new manager

By Adam Bell
abell@charlotteobserver.com

MONROE The Monroe City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to name a former Massachusetts official as their city manager.

John D’Agostino, former town manager in Abington, Mass., near Boston, starts work Aug. 12. He is Monroe’s fourth manager since late 2000, and he inherits a city in turmoil.

Last July, Wayne Herron abruptly quit as manager after a heated council debate over his decision not to give Police Chief Debra Duncan a performance bonus.

A study commissioned by the city to learn why its managers kept quitting detailed a dysfunctional City Hall. Workers were afraid they were being secretly recorded, while council members indulged in nepotism and frequently interfered in city affairs, the report found.

“Nothing in the report gives me pause,” D’Agostino said. “It gives me the opportunity as a leader to bring council and staff together.”

Monroe Mayor Bobby Kilgore, in a statement, said he was optimistic that D’Agostino can help move the city forward.

D’Agostino has occasionally clashed with members of other boards with whom he has worked, according to published reports.

Last November, Abington officials voted not to renew his contract. A town selectman cited D’Agostino’s “failure to work in harmony and respect with other town committees. … A number of townspeople and officials … feel that he has done some good things, but he drags people over a hot bed of coals to get there,” the Boston Globe reported.

One of his supporters on the board cited the town’s improved finances during D’Agostino’s tenure and his work to address ethics complaints against some Abington workers and boards, according to the Globe.

He had worked in Abington since 2010. Previously, D’Agostino served as town manager in Mansfield, Mass., for 12 years until his contract was not renewed in 2009, the Globe reported.

D’Agostino, 55, said much of the reported conflicts were rooted in resistance to changes he wanted to promote.

In Monroe, D’Agostino will have a base salary of $140,000, which could increase by 5 percent after a six-month period.

D’Agostino was not the board’s first choice. The City Council had offered the job to Rich Olson, city manager in Elizabeth City, but he turned them down last month. Observer researcher Marion Paynter contributed

Bell: 704-358-5696
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