WILMINGTON, MA — At a meeting last week, the Wilmington Board of Selectmen appointed Bryan Perry, the current City Auditor for Lowell, as the town’s next Finance Director/Town Accountant, by a 4-1 vote.
Perry beat out fellow finalist Jennifer Finnegan, the current Town Treasurer/Collector for Tyngsboro. Both were publicly interviewed by Selectmen on May 15.
“I think both candidates did an outstanding job and have great resumes,” said Selectman Mike McCoy.
“I was impressed by both, but was more impressed by Brian Perry,” said Selectman Kevin Caira. “He has Munis experience and was part of a conversation. He’s also familiar with the Board of Assessors. He’s an auditor. I think either candidate is good. We win with either one of them. For my flavor, I’m partial to Brian Perry.”
“Mr. Perry has well-thought out answers to questions he couldn’t have been prepared for in a setting that was not your typical job interview,” added Selectwoman Jomarie O’Mahony. “What really differentiated the two is that Mr. Perry is currently managing a $300 million+ budget for the City of Lowell, which is three times our budget.”
“I was partial to Mrs. Finnegan,” said Selectman Jonathan Eaton, who noted Finnegan has nearly 20 years more experience in municipal finance than Perry. “I felt the fraud she uncovered in her prior employment was very impressive. I do feel that she would fit in with the other finance offices here than Mr. Perry might… Experience matters a lot. I’m not going to go home disappointed if Mrs. Finnegan doesn’t get the position. I do think she’s my preference.”
“I agree these were two highly qualified candidates. Very educated. Impressive resumes… They’re pretty equal when you look at them side by side. Both did well in the interviews,” said Selectmen Chair Greg Bendel. “I thought Mr. Perry had the edge when it came to interviewing. We can’t wrong with either one.”
“Both could perform the job very well. They offer a different set of strengths. Mr. Perry’s municipal accounting experience and as a member of the Board of Assessors gives him a bit of an edge with respect of understanding the Board,” said Town Manager Jeff Hull, when asked for his opinion. “In terms of learning curves, Mr. Perry does not seem to be familiar with the municipal borrowing process, which is certainly something that can be learned… There will be an adjustment for Mr. Perry from going to a city-form government to a Town Meeting/Board of Selectmen… [Mrs. Finnegan] has been a Treasurer/Collector and Town Accountant, which perhaps gives her a greater breadth of experience as Mr. Perry, so there’s pluses and minuses on both sides…. In the end, whichever way the board goes, we’re in a good situation.”
On a motion made by Selectman McCoy and a second on Selectwoman O’Mahony, Brian Perry received 4 votes. Selectman Eaton was the lone no vote.
Hull told Selectmen he will discuss the terms and conditions for employment with Perry. Perry’s term will expire annually.
Current Town Accountant Mike Morris is retiring on July 12.
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