By Virginia Dean
Proctor Town Manager Stan Wilbur will be retiring effective June 30 and, according to Select Board Chair Bruce Baccei, “there will be some big shoes to fill.”
“Stan has been a great help to me and the board,” said Baccei. “We’ve gotten to be great friends, and we’ll certainly miss him.”
Baccei related that the Select Board has just begun the search for a new town manager. A small committee of Select Board members, including Ben Curtis and Judy Frazier, will begin that process this week. The plan is to find someone by May, which would give Wilbur time to orient the new hire.
The town will consult with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns on advertising for the job. The VLCT is a trade organization for Vermont towns. It carries a template job description for a town manager and would be a good resource to use during the search.
Baccei has indicated that the search area will be limited to Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Select Board has the final say who will be hired as town manager. Frazier said that a committee made up of community members and a few board members should be effective after the initial phase of setting the criteria this week.
Wilbur said his first day on the job was during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. A retired civil engineer, Wilbur was filling in as interim town administrator and indicated that he didn’t plan to have the job for long. But he was asked to continue in the position, even when the town switched its form of governance from a town administrator to a town manager.
“The experience has been very satisfying and enjoyable,” said Wilbur who was officially hired as town manager in March 2012 at a salary of $52,000. His current salary is $68,157.
Some of the projects Wilbur is most proud of include a $6.1 million water system improvement plan, the rebuilding of the town office front wall and upgrading of its interior and a bike/ped path scoping study looking at options for a path to connect the Rutland Carriage Trail to the Proctor village area and the village area to the town owned Beaver Pond.
“All of these and many more involve state and federal funding,” said Wilbur. “These are just a few of the many projects the town has undertaken since I’ve been here.”
Some of the challenges Wilbur said he faced during his tenure included staff turnover; administrating state and federal grant programs; upgrading highway, water and wastewater department vehicles and equipment; and “being a jack of all trades.”
Wilbur related that the town is looking at paving projects to complete in the coming year for which it has budgeted $125,000, even though if completed, would assume a total cost of $500,000. The Select Board will make the final decision about which projects will be undertaken, he added. Among the possibilities are paving Ormsbee Avenue and Olympus Road, fixing Gorham Bridge Road, and working on Taylor Hill, Gibbs Street and South Street Extension.
Wilbur said he plans to finish renovating his 1828 farmhouse in Tinmouth, travel with his wife and play golf and basketball.
“And if I get tired of doing nothing, I’ll look for an interim town manager, town administrator or director of public works positions,” he said.
Wilbur retires with 40 years of experience in facilities planning and design and construction engineering for state and town highway, water supply, wastewater treatment and other public works projects. He has town government experience, serving as chair of the Tinmouth Select Board, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns Transportation Committee, and the Tinmouth Board of Civil Authority. He has also served as the town moderator in Shelburne.