Town Manager

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May 09

Announcing next Police Chief

Posted on May 9, 2022 at 2:04 PM by Ashley Place

I want to thank everyone for being patient as I carefully evaluated candidates for our next Police Chief. The process took longer than I thought and included extensive public input, including a citizen-wide survey with over 300 responses, focus groups, and a public interview with the ability for public comment afterward (and I received many). In addition, I met and interviewed each of the two finalists separately, took the unique but appropriate step of conducting background checks on each candidate prior to making a decision and talked to numerous individuals associated with the candidates and others whose opinion I trust.
Ashland was presented with two accomplished law enforcement professionals that bring their own set of unique strengths to the table. Both Shirley Chief Sam Santiago and Natick Lieutenant Cara Rossi have a history of success and innovation in their field. This was an extremely difficult decision, but when I compared the candidates to what we are looking for in a police chief, I felt that one had a slight edge over the other.
As a result, I have offered Cara Rossi the position of Police Chief. 
Lt. Rossi brings 28 years of law enforcement experience to the Ashland Police Department.  Currently, she is the Commanding Officer for the Community Services and Traffic Division. While she has multi-year experience in traffic enforcement and patrol and administrative operations, what really sets Lt. Rossi apart is her ability to forge partnerships with other agencies and collaborate with community organizations such as Natick 180 and the DA's High Risk Domestic Violence Task Force, and I look forward to enhanced community collaborations through her leadership. 
And while I do not think policing is the sole answer to all of our social issues, she has experience working in subjects areas that touch us or the people we know everyday like substance abuse and domestic violence.  Most importantly, I think given the chance, she can work with the many talented individuals within the department to broaden and amplify the great characteristics they bring daily to their profession and town.
I am grateful to Chief Samuel Santiago for going through this process, as he is a stellar candidate. He will be successful no matter where his future takes him. Also, I am entirely grateful to Acting Chief Richard Briggs. He has ably led the department with his professionalism and dedication for over nine months now. The town and the Ashland Police Department is much better through his service. 
Lt. Rossi's appointment is still contingent on negotiating a successful employment agreement, but at this time I would encourage you to join me in welcoming her to the Ashland Police Department. 
-Michael Herbert, Town Manager
Mar 26

Announcing candidates for the Ashland Police Chief Position

Posted on March 26, 2022 at 10:37 AM by Ashley Place

Dear Community Member,

I would like to take this opportunity to share the latest update regarding our search for a new Police Chief. I am pleased to announce two candidates as finalists for the Ashland Police Chief position.

*Cara Rossi is a Lieutenant in the Natick Police Department where she has been on the force since 1994. She currently serves as the Commanding Officer of the Community Services and Traffic Division. Prior to that, she served as Commanding Officer of the Operations Division. Prior to her police career, Cara worked for the Department of Youth Services as a Case Worker. Lt. Rossi graduated with a MA in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College.

*Samuel Santiago is currently the Police Chief in the town of Shirley, Massachusetts, and is a 19 year veteran of the department. Prior to becoming Chief, he was a Police Sergeant and Patrol Supervisor. Chief Santiago is also an adjunct faculty member at Anna Maria College. Chief Santiago holds a Masters In Public Administration from Clark University, an MS in Criminal Justice, and an MBA from Anna Maria College, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Criminal Justice from the California University of Pennsylvania.

The Police Chief search yielded 14 candidates. After a review of resumes, six of those candidates were moved forward to be interviewed by an independent screening committee. After the interviews, the screening committee agreed to advance these two candidates for final interviews. The process will continue with me interviewing both candidates. These interviews will take place on Thursday night, March 31st, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and broadcast on WACA TV. The public is encouraged to watch and provide feedback after the interviews: My email is The process will conclude with an offer of employment extended contingent upon a satisfactory background check. 

Acting Chief Briggs elected not to pursue the permanent Chief position. Gratefully, he has agreed to continue as Acting Chief until a new Chief is selected.

I wish to extend a thank-you to Chief Briggs for his ongoing leadership. Additionally, I extend a thank-you to the Screening Committee members: Superintendent Jim Adams, Izzy Assencoa, Retired Fire Capt. Micheal Brogan, Retired Police Chief Bob Gonfrade, Makeda Keegan, and Fiona Sirur, as well as all of the residents who participated in surveys and focus groups as part of the process.


Michael Herbert

Town Manager

Continue reading the rest of this week's newsletter,

Feb 02

Town Manager Updates

Posted on February 2, 2022 at 9:09 AM by Ashley Place

This week we have a few important messages to communicate with our community. Each of these messages are incredibly important, and I hope you take the time to read this update. For additional information, I've discussed each of these items at this past week's Select Board meeting on Wednesday, January 19th. You may watch the recording of the meeting here

Announcing the Employment Profile for Police Chief

IG-Employment Profile- Ashland Police Chief

Ashland continues the search for a new permanent Police Chief after Police Chief Alfano re-entered retirement and Lieutenant Richard Briggs became Acting Chief.

The Police Chief is a crucial element of creating a community. It is an important and visible position. While the Town Manager appoints this position, it is vital that the appointed individual reflect the vision and characteristics of the community.

For these reasons, we found it important to include the public in the process of seeking a new Police Chief. I thank each of you that took the time to contact me; and completed the community survey conducted in late November.

In addition to the public comments and survey feedback, I also met with individuals, formed a focus group, exploring specific subject areas in detail. With your help and input, I am happy to share the Employment Profile seeking our next Police Chief, please view the link below.

Qualified and interested candidates should submit a Resume and Letter of Interest with Qualifications to Human Resources by emailing, subject: Police Chief Search, or by mail to the Town of Ashland, Human Resources Office 101 Main Street, Ashland, MA. 01721, Attn: Police Chief Search.

Our Human Resources Director and I will accept and review applications. Candidates that move forward will meet with a screening committee. The Committee will then recommend one or more finalists to me. Those finalists will then interview in public session, with an offer of employment extended afterward subject to meeting certain requirements and provisions.  

Click here to view the Employment Profile for the Police Chief


Announcing the Final Ashland Racial Equity Initiative (REI Report)

Ashland Racial Equity Initative (REI Report)

We are so excited to announce, the final report from Suffolk University is now available. The Town Administration is proud to use this document as the foundation for future efforts. Over the past couple of years, we've established long-term and short-term goals based on the feedback. With this final report, we are committed to establishing a plan on this report's findings. 

"I want to reinforce that this study that you see, is not the final step, by any means. It’s actually just the first step and what we believe is going to be a long, but hopefully transformative process” - Michael Herbert, Town Manager

Read the complete final report here

Learn more about the Ashland Racial Study Group


Learn about opportunities in our community and lend your voice

Survey Flyer

The Ashland Planning Department with the HPP Steering Committee has been working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) on an inclusionary housing policy to ensure new development in Ashland benefits the community by generating housing that more people can afford. We want to create a policy that’s right for Ashland, and we need your help!  

In Ashland, and communities across Greater Boston, the housing market does not meet everyone’s needs. Seniors and young adults, those with the greatest housing needs, and those with modest incomes are all affected by the high cost of housing. Inclusionary housing creates Affordable Housing opportunities by asking developers to set aside a portion of new housing units for income-eligible households. This policy is implemented through zoning requirements. 

Learn more about this initiative and inclusionary housing in Ashland by clicking here.

Participate in the survey by clicking here

This is an important initiative that the Planning Board has decided to take and advocate for, and we would appreciate your time and participation.