Jim FeeneyFeeney

The youth movement at Town Hall continues: At 31, James Feeney has been promoted to assistant town manager.

In announcing the promotion to selectmen Aug. 22, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine cited Feeney's ability to work on difficult issues.

Since June, Feeney has been acting director of recreation, heading a department that has faced controversy this summer after some residents protested the planned removal of dawn redwood trees at Magnolia Park. The issue came before the Conservation Commission at two hearings in July, before the body approved the tree removals.

Before June, Feeney had been the town's health-compliance officer since August 2009. Among other matters, he worked on medical-marijuana regulations. He had also been acting director Health & Human Services from June to October 2015.

The position of assistant town manager was created as part of an agreement worked out in February, when selectmen voted to raise Chapdelaine's salary to keep him in town. The person in that job will handle work to lessen the manager's load.

During the spring Town Meeting, Precinct 17 member John Leonard questioned the position. Chapdelaine told cited the numerous responsibilities that the person is expected to take on, including public-records requests. The position will be viewed as a community-affairs role, the manager said. The position was adopted.

Asked about his previous town positions, Feeney responded Tuesday, Aug. 30: "During my years of service in a public-facing role, I have valued greatly the opportunity to develop positive relationships with many residents and business owners/managers by working collaboratively to protect the public's health and provide basic human services to those in need.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside many of our dedicated and talented employees and public safety personnel to assist neighborhoods, neighbors, landlords and tenants to resolve issues and improve the quality of life. I look forward to the opportunity to meet these citizen needs in a different capacity."

To deal with records requests

Reflect on specific highlights, he noted that he had "the opportunity to work closely with our Board of Health on many successful policy and regulatory matters. Some of the local regulations I was fortunate enough to help develop and implement include those pertaining to exterior paint removal, biotechnology/biosafety, bodywork, tobacco and nicotine delivery products, and medical marijuana.

"I appreciate the lasting effects these regulations along with other initiatives will have on residents, the community and beyond, which is particularly true of our efforts to regulate bodywork and our development of a hoarding-response team, both serving as models for other Massachusetts municipalities and even many out of state jurisdictions."

While at the town's Health & Human Services, the department launched a Public Health Associate Program (PHAP). That program provides students and new graduates full-time placements in the health department for longer terms than typical internships.

The PHAP program allowed the department to meet an ever-increasing workload and demand for services in a cost-effective manner, he said, "but it also allowed me to provide our associates with real-world hands-on training in local public health.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to train tomorrow's public health workforce, especially knowing their experience in Arlington would help them thrive in their careers."

Asked about challenges he expects his new role, he said, that one "will be implementing new public-records request and response procedures townwide to meet the new state public-records law. "There are substantial changes that will take some getting used to for all of us," he wrote. "I look forward to this and other challenges that will accompany this new opportunity and believe I will be able to effectively draw upon my experiences from the various roles I have served in over the years."

The annual salary for the assistant town manager is $95,076.

Feeney's resume focuses on "a proven ability to resolve sensitive citizen complaints" and says he is a "dedicated and cooperative professional with demonstrated capacity in municipal problem solving through interdepartmental collaboration."

The health-compliance officer performs a wide range of environmental health inspections and associated enforcement activities related to food, housing, hoarding, pools, camps, nuisances, lead paint, body art, tanning, indoor air quality, hen keeping, wildlife and waste disposal.

As acting director, Feeney served oversaw operations of all divisions within Health & Human Services, including the Health Department, Council on aging, Veterans' Services, Youth Health & Safety Coalition, Youth Counseling Center, food pantry and sealer of weights and measures.

At Boston University, from 2011 to the present, in the School of Public Health, he has been a head teaching assistant, director of distance education, lead facilitator.

From May 2005 to February 2011, he was facilities manager of the Walnut Street Center C.A.R.E. Inc., in Somerville.

He holds a bachelor's degree in health science from Boston University, Sargent College and a master's in public health from Boston University School of Public Health.

His certifications include registered environmental health specialist and registered sanitarian, Mass. construction supervisor and code enforcement lead determinator.

This news summary was published Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.