Following a four-month search, the Tisbury board of selectmen voted Tuesday to name John W. Grande as town administrator.
Mr. Grande currently serves as planning board director for the town of Framingham, a position he has held for 16 years.
“I’m very thankful for their vote of confidence in me,” said Mr. Grande when reached by telephone Wednesday. “I’ve already got a lot of phone calls from the Vineyard congratulating me.”
The announcement comes just days after selectmen held public interviews with three finalists for the job: Mr. Grande, state retirement board project manager Sally Rizzo and East Providence, R.I. city manager Peter Graczykowski.
The vote to offer the job to Mr. Grande was unanimous, but followed 10 minutes of deliberation in which one of the selectmen voiced preference for another candidate.
During his public interview Saturday, Mr. Grande told the selectmen he would need to give several weeks’ notice to his current employer before moving to the Vineyard. For that reason, selectman Jonathan Snyder said, he might prefer another candidate.
“He didn’t leap at the opportunity to move down here; he said maybe weeks,” Mr. Snyder said.
Instead, Mr. Snyder recommended a vote for Mr. Graczykowski, who, he said, was “someone who could really step in, hit the ground running, bring a lot of experience and get things done.”
“I don’t want someone to come in and hit the ground running,” countered selectman Jeffrey Kristal. “I want someone to come in, know what they are doing, be able to deal with these department heads, and listen to us as we say, ‘These are the priorities we have missed in the last several years,’” he said.
Mr. Kristal said he also preferred Mr. Grande’s town position versus the other candidates’ roles in the city and state.
Chairman Tristan Israel said Mr. Grande stood out as a long-term planner capable of juggling multiple projects as well as different committees and departments.
“The consensus building in this town . . . it’s enormous,” Mr. Israel said. “To be able to work with a diverse group of people and independent departments, and move the plan along, that skill is very important.”
The split opinion mirrored a straw poll taken after public interviews Saturday, during which Mr. Israel and Mr. Kristal each cast votes for Mr. Grande, while Mr. Snyder voted for Mr. Graczykowski.
Following the debate, Mr. Snyder, who began the deliberations Tuesday with an acknowledgement that he would be comfortable with any of the three candidates, initiated a motion to vote for Mr. Grande.
“They are all capable and great additions to the town,” Mr. Snyder said.
The motion seconded, the selectmen adjourned to executive session to discuss contract negotiations. Acting town administrator Aase Jones said selectmen will continue to hash out contract terms next week.
Mr. Grande said he is in the process of finding housing, although he is well-acquainted with the Island. His family bought a summer home in 1977 and he has been a frequent summer visitor for 35 years. He lived year-round with his own family on the Vineyard in 1990, he said.
“I always considered it home and it’s nice to be in a position in my career and in my life where I am able to do this,” said Mr. Grande.