Finding no immediate way out of the impasse, selectmen voted to offer Angelo the post of temporary town manager effective July 1 -- temporary appointments require just three votes. Last week, Angelo officially accepted the offer when he and board members agreed on the terms of his hiring.
While the temporary appointment solved the immediate problem of a replacement for Cardillo, it is uncertain how long Angelo will stay as manager. In the temporary post, Angelo will serve without a contract. The veteran state representative, who is seeking reelection, has made clear he has no intention of abandoning his legislative job unless he is offered the town manager job on a permanent basis.
Angelo, 45, said last week he hopes his performance as town manager will earn him the fourth vote he needs for a permanent appointment on the board. But he said, "If it doesn't happen by early next year, it's not going to happen and I would return as a full-time legislator." The prospect of a short tenure for Angelo -- and uncertainty about who might replace him -- has led some to worry that Saugus could be headed back to the days when its town managers seemed to come and go in almost turnstile fashion. Between 1948 and 1996, there were 32 permanent or acting town managers including 10 between 1974 and 1982.