Andrew Nota named town administrator
He ran his own business from a 20-foot skiff. He started out using a 14-foot boat his neighbor gave him, and before long Nota had his own custom-built craft and about 120 lobster pots.
When he starts the job March 31, he will bring with him a genuine appreciation for commercial fishing, he acknowledged, plus first-hand knowledge about the population changes in southern Rhode Island.
The Town Council chose Nota to replace Kevin Paicos on Feb. 27 following a 75-minute executive session. After a motion from Councilor Eugene Mihaly, the Saunderstown resident was unanimously selected.
Nota’s resume is highlighted by his experience in recreational programming and leisure activities. He has a successful track record of collecting state and federal grant money for local programs.
In listing the reasons for hiring him, Council President Kristine Trocki said Nota has shown he possesses the demeanor and ability to deal with diverse people under sometimes stressful situations. Trocki said the council is confident about his character. Councilor Mary Meagher also said recreation programming has been one of the council’s top priorities, and Nota has strengths in that area.
Nota created and implemented South Kingstown’s leisure services and has past experience as the recreation director in Narragansett. He also dealt with the state Department of Environmental Management to secure open space and recreation grants.
He is currently South Kingstown’s director of administrative services, a position he has held since 2009. (Bruce Keiser held the same position before coming Jamestown’s chief operating officer.) He described the post as a deputy town administrator. The Jamestown job will be a promotion, but Nota has significant experience with municipal budgets, collective bargaining and managing town workers. Prior to becoming chief of staff, he was South Kingstown’s director of leisure services.
As a youth, Nota worked at the beach in Narragansett. Those jobs gave him his start in recreation.
“I coached, worked in the parks and did maintenance,” he said. “One thing kind of led to another.”
Then in 1991, after earning the master’s degree in business administration from URI, he applied for a job as assistant director of Narragansett’s parks department.
He took the job thinking he would try and see how it worked out, but when he discovered how much he liked creating rec programs, he never looked back.
In 1996, he moved up to the top spot as director.
Nota holds graduate degrees in business and law, but not in public administration. He originally went to URI for the business program, and took a double major in finance and management. That’s where he met his wife, Michele. She is currently the director of alumni relations at the university. The couple has three children: Matt is a sophomore in college, while Andrew and Kate both attend Rocky Hill School.
Although he dropped out of college briefly and tried real estate, he returned for his MBA. Then he earned his law degree, studying nights for four years at the New England School of Law.
Nota’s parents were both teachers. He considered going into education, but the closest he came was coaching high-school football. In his younger days, Nota played offense, defense and special teams for Narragansett High.
“I was one of those kids who never come off the field,” he said.
Nota is originally from Providence and started school at George J. West Elementary. When he was 9, the family decided to move to Harbour Island.
“It was a great way to grow up,” he said.
Nota says he developed into someone who “really loves the ocean,” spending his summers quahogging, crabbing, clamming and fishing.
His father, the late Frank Nota, taught science at Central High. His mother Carol taught English at Classical. They commuted to work from South County until their retirement.
Nota transferred to the Narragansett school system in fifth grade.
His father served two terms on the Narragansett Town Council. Both parents were active in the schools, he said, and his father’s public service started after people approached him about a vacant seat. Nota said his father enjoyed his time on the council but had enough after two terms.
“It wasn’t a career,” he said.
Aside from small government, Nota says he doesn’t have political ambitions.
“I think I hit my stride,” he said,
Nota’s older brother, David, is a physical therapist with a business in Charlotte, N.C. His younger sister, Alyssa, lives in Turin, Italy.