James Hagerty chosen as new Edgartown town administrator

Selectmen chose Oak Bluffs Police officer from pool of four applicants.

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Oak Bluffs police officer James Hagerty was chosen as the new Edgartown town administrator. — Brian Dowd

The Edgartown board of selectmen chose James Hagerty as the new town administrator after public interviews of four candidates Tuesday.

Selectman Michael Donaroma called Hagerty to offer the position, which he happily accepted. Hagerty, an Island native, was chosen from a pool of four candidates who were interviewed in succession. He will replace Pam Dolby, who is retiring.

Hagerty, an Oak Bluffs Police officer and former Marine Corps officer, cited his experience as a team leader while stationed in Iraq and his M.B.A. in finance as qualifications for the position.

“I’m committed to the community. I was born and raised here. My kids go to school here, and I can add very positive things to the town,” Hagerty told the Times.

Selectmen felt Hagerty had all the qualifications for the job, and would be a great addition to the town.

Hagerty said he will have an open-door policy, and is ready to deal with any positive or negative situations, something he has dealt with daily as a police officer. Trust and transparency were also important traits as town administrator for Hagerty.

When asked about the biggest challenges facing the town, Hagerty brought up affordable housing and a growing elderly population. As a homeowner, Hagerty said, he knows the difficulties with finding a place to live on-Island, and was only able to return to his hometown of Edgartown by getting a Veterans Administration loan through his service in the Marines.

Details on Hagerty’s start date are still in development, but Dolby is scheduled to continue through the Fourth of July as Hagerty transitions from his job at the Oak Bluffs Police Department.

Juliet Mulinare, the town’s procurement officer, was among the four finalists. She came to Edgartown 3½ years ago, and has had a role on the finance committee. Mulinare cited her experience in town and the relationships she has established as pluses during her interview.

Timothy O’Leary, an assistant field office manager at the National Nuclear Security Administration, traveled from Los Alamos, N.M., for the interview. O’Leary, a North Hampton native who had not been to the Island before Tuesday, cited his extensive professional experience as a commander in the Coast Guard, varied positions with the federal government, including posts as a congressional fellow and helping to set up the Department of Homeland Security, and as an elected member of the Northampton city council when he was 20 years old, serving two terms.

John Ardaugh, an attorney from Manhattan, Ill., similarly had never been to the Island before, but expressed his admiration for the Boston and Cape Cod area. Ardaugh began his interview by explaining his outside status as something of value, bringing a new, fresh perspective to the town.

In the end, selectmen chose Hagerty for his leadership expertise and knowledge of finance. Selectman Arthur Smadbeck said Hagerty “checked all the boxes,” while selectman Margaret Serpa said she was “amazed” with Hagerty.

The other candidates were praised for their varied experiences. Selectmen were impressed with O’Leary’s extensive resume, Mulinare’s experience in town hall, and Ardaugh’s skills as a lawyer.