WINCHESTER — For the fifth time in eight years, Winchester officials will search for a new town leader.
Town Administrator Joan Morel plans to leave her job in February after submitting a letter of resignation last month. Selectmen accepted the letter with regret at their meeting on Dec. 11.
Selectmen Chairwoman Roberta Fraser said this morning the board plans to advertise the position starting Saturday, with applications due this month.
“We’ll be taking applications, and then going from there with interviews,” she said.
The position will remain the same as it has been for the past four years, with the town administrator also handling town assessor responsibilities, she said.
Selectmen haven’t yet discussed whether to hire an interim town administrator if the position isn’t filled by the time of Morel’s departure, but Morel has agreed to stay on if needed past her scheduled last day of Feb. 8, Fraser said.
Morel was out of the office and unavailable for comment.
In her resignation letter, Morel said she appreciated the opportunities she’d been given, and wished the town well in the future.
“I love the job and everyone I work with, but have reached the point where I need to stop working fulltime,” she wrote.
Morel became Winchester’s town administrator in October 2010, making her the fourth person to be hired to the position since 2004. She replaced Robert N. Gray, who left the job in fall 2010 after deciding to move with his wife to Arizona. He was named town administrator in December 2008, replacing Amy Lewis, who held the position for about three months.
Lewis was hired after voters at town meeting in March 2008 decided to eliminate the town manager position for a town administrator post.
A town administrator works under the direct supervision of the selectmen, while a town manager oversees all town departments, property and business affairs involving the town, and the expenditure of funds from the town budget, according to the Local Government Center, an organization that advises municipalities in the state.
The vote to eliminate the town manager job came during the fourth consecutive year the question had been on the town meeting ballot. At the time, John H. Stetser had been town manager since December 2004. He left the job in April 2008.Stetser replaced Town Manager Anthony F. Simon, who resigned in January 2004 after six months on the job