Selecting a New City Manager

by Richard P. Howe Jr.

Bernie Lynch, November 2013

At noon on Monday, March 10, 2014, Bernie Lynch ended his seven years as City Manager of Lowell.  City Clerk Michael Geary immediately took over as Acting City Manager, however, he will return to the City Clerk job as soon as the new City Manager is hired.

Twenty-nine people applied for the job.  To decide which ones to interview, the nine City Councilors each picked the top five applicants and the five who got the most support from the council would be interviewed.  Since there was a tie for fifth place, six applicants will be interviewed.   They are:

  • Greg Balukonis who has been the administrator of North Reading, Massachusetts since 2005.  Mr. Balukonis is also a finalist for the position of Dracut Town Manager.
  • Robert Bruner who is the former city manager of Birmingham, Michigan.  He held that job for three years.
  • Peter Graczykowski who is the former City Manager of East Providence, Rhode Island.  He held that job for two years.
  • Daniel Keyes who has been the administrator of Blackstone, Massachusetts since 2011.
  • Kevin Murphy who has represented the Highlands and Acre neighborhoods of Lowell as a State Representative since 1997.  He also worked for Lowell as an Assistant City Solicitor for 13 years.
  • George Ramirez who is the Administrator of Devens, the former U.S. Army base in Ayer, Massachusetts, that has been developed as a residential and business zone.  He is also an attorney who served on the Lowell City Council in 2006 and 2007

The Council will interview two candidates per night beginning on March 25 and continuing on March 26 and 27.  The interviews begin at 6:00 p.m. and will be televised on Lowell Cable TV channel 99.  Each candidate will have 10 minutes to make an opening statement, then each Councilor will have 10 minutes to question the candidate, and the interview will conclude with a 5 minute closing statement by the candidate.  After the interviews are finished, the nine City Councilors will vote to elect the new City Manager.

Previously: City Manager Lynch to Resign
Council discusses Manager Search
Lowell Politics in 2013