Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald has promoted the town’s accountant, Amy Sarro, and assistant town accountant, Patrick Luddy, as their boss Town Administrator for Administration and Finance Ron Mendes entered his final days under the town’s employ.
After Mendes announced he would be leaving in mid-April, Fitzgerald conducted “a vacancy review.”
That process culminated in the town distributing some of the municipal finance responsibilities and duties that Mendes performed across two new positions: Director of finance and administration and town treasurer and tax collector.
Sarro will be Swampscott’s finance director; Luddy will be the town’s treasurer and tax collector.
At its Monday, May 3 public meeting, the Swampscott Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to permit Fitzgerald to enter into contract negotiations with the two employees.
Sarro has been Swampscott town accountant for a year. According to her LinkedIn page, she has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and is pursuing a master’s degree in accounting from Salem State University.
“I have come to see Amy as a real strong colleague, she is somebody that I frankly, believe gives good advice. She’s clear with her analysis. She’s got a strong background in finance,” Fitzgerald told selectmen. “She can really help us build upon the foundation that we’ve laid over the last few years to help Swampscott balance our financial priorities.”
Fitzgerald said Luddy has worked for the town over the past three years. He actually started out in Swampscott Town Hall’s internship program (he was part of what one might call the program’s first class) that Fitzgerald instituted shortly after he became town administrator.
The internship complemented Luddy’s undergraduate studies before he graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. He will soon receive his master’s degree in accounting from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in a couple weeks, Fitzgerald pointed out.
“He has demonstrated a strong area of work ethic, he is a really keen, focused professional,” said Fitzgerald. “Having somebody of his ability to help us manage our finances and really grow into a strong leadership role is going to be critical.”
Selectmen praised Mendes for his public service and his good work over the past seven years. His last day is Thursday, May 13 before his first day as Newton’s next tax collector.
The Mendes-Fitzgerald leadership team and the finance staff have improved financial projections, capital planning, debt management and budgetary practices, officials have said. They paved the way for a nominal increase in Swampscott’s single-family tax bills and brought the town’s bond rating up a notch to AA+.
As the town’s finance team turns a page, selectmen set expectations when Fitzgerald announced the pair of promotions: This is not a time to “rest on our laurels:” Swampscott’s financial house is in order, but they said the town can do even better.
“Before Ron came here, and I don’t mean this disrespectfully to his predecessors – some of the things we’ve done [during his tenure] are night and day,” said Selectman Don Hause. “We’ve really transformed the way we do things financially in this town and clearly, we’ve seen tangible benefits of it.”
Hause added, “You’ve got a great basis for us to raise the bar even higher. It’s going to allow us to continue a path of fiscal prudence that the town had not seen.”