LOWELL -- City Manager Kevin Murphy is promoting from within to fill two top posts in his administration.
Murphy announced Wednesday that city-data analyst Conor Baldwin will be Lowell's new chief financial officer and Diane Tradd will be assistant city manager/director of the Department of Planning and Development. They will start their new roles July 21.
Baldwin and Tradd were the best of five candidates interviewed for each position, said Murphy, who became city manager in mid-April.
"I have been impressed with their work since I began and both were the superior candidates of those interviewed," wrote Murphy in an email to city councilors announcing the appointments. "I am confident they will assist me in elevating the city to new heights."
The manager said about 20-25 people applied for the DPD post and about 15 people applied to be CFO.
Murphy said Baldwin is a "future superstar" with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the city's $334 million budget, a document the manager said Baldwin played an integral role in formulating and which received unanimous council approval.
"Before I started as city manager and was trying to get hold on financial issues affecting the city, he was at that time very helpful with explaining what was going on financially," Murphy told The Sun.
"After I became city manager, I was incredibility impressed with his abilities and how he handled himself during the budget hearings."
Murphy said Interim CFO Robert Healy, whom Baldwin will replace, sat in on the interviews with CFO candidates and helped Murphy make his decision.
Healy will remain for a short time as a consultant for no more than 10 hours a week to "conclude special projects" Murphy has asked him to complete. Murphy said those projects include working on the city's capital plan and the solar-energy project at the former landfill at Drum Hill.
Baldwin, 30, said he was both honored and excited to be named CFO. He had served as data analyst for about 1 1/2 years after previously working in the city's Human Relations Office.
"It is a very exciting time to be part of the administration, and I'm very much looking forward to it," said Baldwin, who lives in Billerica but hopes to move back to Lowell with his family.
"I hope to continue to monitor the revenues and costs to help the city operate as efficiently and effectively as possible and to ensure quality services are provided to the residents," added Baldwin.
Baldwin said an immediate priority will be providing the council with an updated multi-year capital plan.
Tradd is a 23-year employee in the city's Department of Planning and Development and had been serving as acting director in recent months after previously serving as deputy DPD director.
"Her knowledge of economic-development projects in Lowell and what needed to be done with them was very impressive to me," said Murphy. "Her intimate knowledge of the workings of DPD weighed in her favor as well."
Murphy said former DPD Director Adam Baacke, who serves in a similar role at UMass Lowell, sat in on the interviews with the candidates and Murphy consulted with him on his selection.
"I am very excited that I will continue to be in a leadership position and working on all the projects we have begun to keep things moving forward," said Tradd, 56, of Merrimacport.
"We always have our work cut out for us in DPD, but we have a great team of people and I'm happy to continue to work with them."
Tradd said her top priorities will be implementing the city's master plan -- Sustainable Lowell 2025 -- and working to bolster the downtown.
Tradd also said the key to her success and the success of DPD has been working collaboratively with many people in different agencies, and she hopes to keep that collaborative approach in place in her role leading the department.
Murphy said Baldwin and Tradd's salaries for their new roles were not available as of late Wednesday, but he would be able to provide them Thursday morning.
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