Questions surround Pini exit

Rindge: Longtime Town Administrator suddenly out; no word from town officials on reason for the departure

Rindge Town Offices confirmed on Monday that after six years in the role, Carlotta Pini is no longer the town administrator.

The announcement took many by surprise, and without an explanation from the Board of Selectmen as of yet, it remains unclear why Pini is no longer in the role. None of the calls made to all three Select Board were returned on Monday. Efforts to contact Pini were also unsuccessful.

Pini was answering questions on behalf of the town as late as Wednesday.

Rindge resident Nicole Sesia has been working for the town since May as the executive secretary. As of Monday morning, Sesia had simply been told Pini no longer worked there. “I don’t know what to think,” she said over the phone on Monday. “I’m wondering what’s going on.”

Jed Brummer, a former Rindge selectman between 2007 and 2013 and Planning Board member before that, said he was shocked when he heard a rumor that Pini was no longer town administrator. “I held her and her abilities in very high esteem,” he said in a phone interview on Monday. Brummer added, “She’s been with the town for 12 years. She’s very capable.”

Pini, who often had negotiate town positions on sensitive political and personnel issues, was defended by those who worked with her on Monday. Brummer talked about the “different persuasions and interests that sometimes collide” in the town, and how Pini was involved. “Carlotta was part of the glue that kept it all together,” Brummer said. “She acted as a liason for a dozen committees, and she helped move the town forward in a positive way.”

In response to questions about town employee salary raises, including Pini’s, that came under fire several years ago, Brummer said the increases were necessary. “We had one third of the town employees looking for jobs elsewhere,” he said, citing the pay raises as a way for the town to be competitive with other towns. Brummer then added, “Carlotta worked at the pleasure of the Selectmen. She couldn’t operate independent of the Selectmen.”

Brummer then spoke about the knowledge Pini gained over her tenure in the town offices and the knowledge she brought with her. Pini, who received her bachelor degree from Wellesley in 1992 and later went on to earn an MBA at Franklin Pierce University in 2006 according to her LinkedIn account, was the town’s administrative assistant and bookkeeper for six years until she was recommended to be town administrator. “She was a valued person to hold that position,” said Brummer.

Lisa Murray, who lives in Temple and has been the Director of University Relations at Franklin Pierce University and a member of the Town Gown team since April 2012, also said she was “totally shocked.” Murray talked about Pini’s integral presence on the Town Gown team, which works to strengthen relations between the town and university. “She brought a broad perspective,” said Murray over the phone on Monday, referring to Pini’s experiences as a town person and FPU alum. “She had the best interests of the town at heart at all times.”

Murray gave an example of Pini’s willingness to take action for the town. Pini suggested that the Town Gown team participate in the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s 71st Annual Conference in November 2012. “She had heard of the statewide conference and thought of the Town Gown,” said Murray. After the team was accepted as presenters, they took the opportunity to tell others how, after a strained relationship in the past, Rindge and the Town Gown worked hard to improve their connection. “Carlotta thought of this way to not only give back to the local community, but to give to the national community,” Murray said. “She seemed to always take initiative to make things better.”

Pat Martin, another Rindge resident and Chair of the town’s Energy Commission, expressed disappointment over the news about Pini. Martin, who heard the news through a source she did not want to identify over the phone on Monday, said she had only good things to say about Pini, who she had worked with since 2009. “She was looking out for the best interests of the town,” said Martin, who mentioned all the work Pini did in aiding the Energy Commission, in pursuing the broadband internet project with New Hampshire Fast Roads, and generally contributing to the development of Rindge. “I feel she did a wonderful job,” Martin said.

Martin also spoke about Pini’s difficult position, one where she acted as a shield for the Selectmen and took a lot of heat for implementing policy she did not have a final say on. “Carlotta was in the position of say no to a lot of people,” said Martin. “I don’t think she always received the support she deserves.”

Though it is still unclear why Pini left her position, Brummer mentioned he had heard a rumor that the Select Board had a non-public meeting last Wednesday for personnel matters, and that they would be having another non-public meeting on Tuesday for department heads. “I don’t know if that meeting will remain non-public,” Brummer added.

Brummer, as well as other Rindge residents, are still trying to find the motive behind Pini’s departure. “She liked what she was doing,” said Brummer. When asked whether he thought the Selectmen asked Pini to leave, Brummer said, “I suspect so.”

Regardless of why Pini left her position, Brummer and Martin agree: the next town administrator has some big shoes to fill. Martin said of Pini, “I think they’ll have a hard time finding someone to replace her.”

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