|Clarksburg Board Offering Town Administrator Post to Vermont Woman|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff|
04:03AM / Thursday, September 26, 2019
|Rebecca Stone was the unanimous choice of the Select Board to be the next town administrator. |
The board was swift in choosing a new town administrator Wednesday compared to longer discussions that have taken place in the past.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Select Board on Wednesday selected Rebecca Stone as the new town administrator, pending contract negotiations.
Stone, currently the town administrator of Otis, was one of two finalists selected by a search committee headed by James Stakenas.
The board has been seeking a replacement for Town Administrator Carl McKinney who resigned in May.
Stone, of Halifax, Vt., and the second finalist, Lisa Blackmer, were both interviewed on Monday night.
"I didn't want to have a decision made that night, I wanted this board to sort of absorb what we heard, the questions we asked," said Chairman Ronald Boucher. "And so today's a day that we make a decision that I just think is very, very important for Clarksburg moving forward, we got some good things in place. And we want to continue the ball rolling forward."
All three of the Select Board members thought both women had the credentials and capability for the post but initially split on their choices.
Board member Jeffrey Levanos said it was a difficult decision but thought Blackmer, of North Adams, was the best choice. He was impressed by her answers to the questions that were posed and her connections with state government.
Blackmer, the treasurer/tax collector in Buckland, has a background in municipal, finance and human resources, holds a master's of business administration and was president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
"She is very, very concerned and very involved in what goes on in in small towns and rural communities," he said. "And I think Lisa having an ear to the governor's office, you know, kind of put her over the top."
Select Board member Danielle Luchi, however, preferred Stone, who was town administrator in Readsboro, Vt., for two years before being hired in Otis in late 2017. She also worked in municipal posts prior to that and has an associate degree from Greenfield Community College.
Reading from a statement, Luchi first thanked Boucher for his efforts in the interim to keep the town running smoothly and then said she believed "that Ms. Rebecca stone is an overall better fit for our community. I am optimistic that she will dedicate herself to Clarksburg continue to move us forward into the future."
Boucher acknowledged he was the tie-breaker and felt the choice was an important one for the future of Clarksburg. And his choice was Stone.
"I like the idea of the small town network she came from, she's been involved in small towns and she finds a way to work through things," he said. "At this point in time, I think the best choice for Clarksburg now and moving forward will be Rebecca Stone. I think she will have all the requirements that I was looking for."
It was Blackmer's personal aspirations that tipped his decision in Stone's favor. Boucher had served on the North Adams City Council with Blackmer, who is seeking to return to the council this election.
"I have a concern when you want to be the town administrator, but yet you want to run for City Council," he said, feeling that the responsibilities that come with the office would somehow impinge upon her job with the town. "So I just feel at this point time that Rebecca stone will be the best fit for Clarksburg moving forward."
The board did not debate or further expand upon their choices but went straight to a vote with Stone as the nominee; the vote was unanimous.
In other business, Boucher reported that Adams Community Bank came in with an offer of 3.09 percent on the $1 million debt exclusion borrowing authorized by town meeting to address infrastructure issues in the town and school. The money will be available in the account on Oct. 2.
"So I just want to let everybody know that's done, the money is in the bank and we can start doing some some projects," he said. "So I want to thank the community for their support with that, too. That was wasn't always easy."
One of the first projects is the paving of Henderson Road and School and Gleason streets. In good news, three bids opened on Wednesday came in below the rough estimate of $321,000. The low bidder was Warner Brothers LLC of Sunderland at $256,902, followed by Delsignore Paving of Troy, N.Y., at $279,679.75 and Eurovia Northeast Paving of Lee at $283,025.75.
The bids were taken under advisement for further review.
The board also thanked Mary and Darrell English for donating an original set of blueprints of the Town Hall, formerly the Briggsville School.
"That's something that will go into the Historical Society. I think it's very, very nice. They have a lot of other stuff for other towns they're going to planning on turning over," Boucher said. "So I just wanted to take a moment behalf of the board and thank both of you for for doing that in giving that little piece of history back to Clarksburg."
The board also voted to accept a reimbursement of $4,841 in regional transportation funding from the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District and approved Police Chief Michael Williams to apply for a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant. The Community Facility Grant would provide 55 percent of the cost of a police cruiser.