Andover is searching for its first sustainability coordinator, a position that will aim to help the town as it deals with climate change and related issues.

A description for the job, posted on the town's website, lists the annual salary for the full-time position ranging from $64,000 to just over $81,000.

The sustainability coordinator will work under the direction of the town manager to address climate impacts and sustainability for the town and residents.

Coordination of energy efficiency, recycling, water conservation, greenhouse gas reduction and environmental management programs for town departments and residents are also listed in the job responsibilities.

The position will work closely with committees and boards in town, as well as Andover public schools and the Department of Public Works.

Knowledge of alternative energy program management, government, municipal and private energy trends is listed in the job description as requirements for applicants.

The creation of the position falls into the energy and sustainability goal drafted by the Select Board and town manager. The goal was approved by the board in a 4-1 vote at a meeting last month.

Select Board member Alex Vispoli was the one vote in opposition. He expressed uncertainty as to how the position would benefit Andover taxpayers.

"I question a dedicated resource at this time, with no identified goals or objectives," he said. "We are already doing a disaster preparedness and I'm not sure I see the benefit to Andover taxpayers.

Vispoli thought it would be beneficial to first hire a consultant to identify true goals and objectives before dedicating a resource to sustainability.

Select Board member Dan Koh was largely on board with the creation of the position. He voiced his belief at the meeting that energy and sustainability is a top priority given the challenges ahead, and that it is necessary to have someone focused on it day-to-day.

"Respectfully, given how much there is to do, given how much community engagement we see on this issue, the mere fact that we are having a debate as to whether or not we should dedicate a single resource to all the sustainability issues to me is incredibly inconceivable," he said.

Koh said the implications of climate change could cost the town billions of dollars if not tackled now. As a former consultant, he said there is no comparison between hiring a consultant and having a dedicated, in-house resource.

The position will be funded by the town, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said, and will be within the fiscal year budget. There will be no increase in benefited positions.

Applications will be accepted for the next two to three weeks.


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