Town administrator resigns unexpectedly

by Town Reminder

Town administrator resigns unexpectedly

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer, kwill@turley.com

SOUTH HADLEY – Paul Beecher, South Hadley’s Town Administrator, resigned last Friday, Jan. 20.
At a Monday evening tri-board meeting of the Selectboard, School Committee and Appropriations Committee, Beecher’s resignation was announced but not discussed in depth.
“I’d rather not get into it,” said Selectboard Chair Robert Judge when questioned by committee members, one who specifically asked if qualified candidates were available. “I don’t want it to be talked about tonight,” said Judge.
He directed those interested in a discussion about the resignation to Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting, as it was put on the board’s agenda.
Beecher’s resignation comes at the beginning of budget season.
Ira Brezinsky, of the Appropriations Committee, told the Selectboard “to look really seriously in terms of whatever your interim situation is going to be.” Rather than filling the position in-house in the meantime, someone “with a fresh set of eyes” might be best, he said.
Regarding a future town administrator search, Selectboard Member John Hine said, “We’re going to have to do it differently than we did in the past. “ In the immediate future, he said the Selectboard “is going to have to get more involved in the budget.”
Beecher’s resignation comes almost exactly two years after his official starting date on Jan. 19, 2010. At that time, Beecher had more than 35 years of experience in city and town government, he said in a Feb. 5, 2010 edition of the Town Reminder.
Prior to holding the South Hadley Town Administrator position, Beecher served as a consultant in Chicago, a city manager in Kingman, Ariz until 2007 and the city manager of Dover, N.H from 1992-2005.
In the Feb. 5, 2010 article, Beecher said he would like to begin an “economic development plan” and would make sure South Hadley was spending tax dollars “to the best effect.”
Before Beecher maintained the town administrator position, it was held by Jennifer Wolowicz, personnel officer, in that interim. Patricia Vinchesi held the position before that.
Beecher won the position over two other finalists, including Wolowicz.
In a statement released jointly by the Selectboard and Beecher Tuesday, Jan. 24, it was revealed Beecher and his wife “plan to relocate to the Seattle area where their daughters and grandchildren live.”
Further comment was declined by the Selectboard out of respect for Beecher’s privacy.

The Selctboard will meet Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Selectboard meeting room in town hall.

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