Nantucket Select Board Race - Candidate Question: Town Manager Evaluation

Nantucket Current •

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The 2023 Nantucket Select Board candidates. Clockwise from top left: Malcolm MacNab, Tom Dixon, Cliff Williams, and Kathy Richen.

The Annual Town Election is set for Tuesday, May 23 when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Nantucket High School.

We reached out to the four candidates vying for the two open seats on the Select Board this year to answer a series of questions on local issues.

Q: One of the Select Board’s primary duties is evaluating the performance of the town manager. From your vantage point, what is your current evaluation of town manager Libby Gibson? 

The candidates' responses are below in alphabetical order:

Thomas Dixon

This is a difficult question to answer. At risk of seeming to dodge the question (and I do believe as candidates we should, of course, have to answer tough questions), after much thought, and in deference to the process of any evaluation and/or contract negotiations, I believe it would be unfair to any town employee for a candidate for office to publicly preemptively state a hiring preference without first being presented with a set of performance review standards, and secondly, then be able to consult with the other four members of the Select Board. However, it is indeed the Select Board’s purview to undertake an assessment of the duties and scope of town administration as it relates to Nantucket’s governance. Read Dixon's full response here. 

Malcolm MacNab

I am at present one of Ms. Gibson's supervisors. It is not appropriate, or I believe legal, to make a public comment on her performance.

Kathy Richen

It is my belief that Libby Gibson had some serious circus training in her life. How else could she possibly juggle at least twelve balls in the air at any one time. The job of town manager is huge. She is a sounding board for so many problems and possible problems in our community. And she interacts with a number of enterprise funds and the schools as well. The select board evaluates her performance and I can tell you that I have tremendous respect for her. The entire time I have worked for the town, going back to 1991, Libby has been in the selectman’s, now town administration office. I had risk management responsibilities for the town and many times I worked with Libby on strategies to resolve problems. Libby is down-to-earth, poised and direct in her communications. Sometimes that can put people on guard a bit, but these attributes are just what a town needs. Read Richen's full response here. 

Clifford Williams

I can only echo the same response I gave last fall, it's time to move on! Town Administration seems to take the path of least resistance, which is great for them but not the taxpayer. I witnessed millions stolen at the airport and no one went to prison. I’ve watched articles pass at Town Meeting that would hold leaders more accountable, so they were not implemented. But the biggest complaint I hear from people and I tried to put an end to it myself, is the union of one the deputy police chief is in? Really! I think the majority of tax payers have lost trust in the town manager. 

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