ROWLEY – It would be hard to top the glowing performance review the Rowley Board of Selectmen gave to Town Administrator Deborah Eagan at its May 9 meeting.
The board voted unanimously to hand Eagan marks of excellent across the board in every category after reciting a long list of accomplishments over the past year. The accomplishments ranged from building projects at the public safety buildings to securing grants to effectively maneuvering Town Hall through the Covid-19 pandemic to being an effective steward of the town’s finances.
“You just go through the list and that data provides you with a taste of what she has done over the last years,” said selectmen Chairman Clifford Pierce. “The thing that I would add is that we had that SNAFU with last year’s Town Meeting where we had to get special legislation signed by the governor, and she oversaw that and she would not give up until it was done. That was amazing on top of all of this.”
Pierce said that there wasn’t enough he could say about the job Eagan and her team, including assistant town administrators Amy Lydon and Natalie Lovett, and administrative assistant Elaine Pagliarulo.
“Debbie sets the tone for that office,” said Pierce.
Selectman Robert Snow singled out Eagan’s dedication to the job.
“On the weekends, all of us will get phone calls, she’s working on Saturday and Sunday to keep me up on what’s going on in the town,” said Snow. “I can’t say enough about Debbie and the way she runs the office. Someone said to me in the Marine Corps ‘It ain’t bragging if you can do it,’ and she can do it.”
Selectman David Petersen said the board wouldn’t accomplish anywhere near as much as it does without the assistance of Eagan and her staff.
“If she decides to leave, we are in trouble, because she basically does everything and I can do nothing but give her a top-notch excellent rating,” said Petersen.
Pierce said there was no downside to giving Eagan high marks in every category.
“I don’t think we should say we shouldn’t give her too good of an appraisal because that gives her no incentive to improve,” he said. “She is well beyond that point.”
Eagan thanked the board for the exemplary appraisal and said she couldn’t do her job alone, praising the administrator’s office, as well as the town’s department heads, financial team, and public safety and public works departments among others.
“I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it is to work with people who are very kind, respectful, and patient,” said Eagen. “It is a real team-based approach in this town. That’s how our management style is, and really it’s why we can get a lot done.
“Thank you for your kind compliments tonight, it’s a pleasure to work with the board, and I’ll be missing Dave (Petersen, who did not run for reelection) in his last meeting, but it’s an honor for me to work with such an esteemed Board of Selectmen.”