Select Board retains Blanchard as Interim City Manager – The Williams Record


The selection committee originally intended to find a permanent city manager by November, but will instead begin a second search in January. (Ella Marx / The Williams Record)

Williamstown Select’s board of directors voted 4-1 on November 18 to retain interim city manager Charlie Blanchard until the end of April, while continuing to seek a permanent city manager.

Blanchard was hired in April 2021 following the resignation of former chief executive Jason Hoch ’95. Blanchard’s contract was due to expire in November, but the Select Board extended it until April 2022.

The board began looking for a permanent city manager following Hoch’s resignation and intended to install a permanent replacement by Blanchard’s initial departure date in November. However, he decided in October not to hire one of the finalists for the position of permanent general manager and to launch a second search instead, which will begin in January, according to Select board chairman Andy Hogeland. ’76.

After rejecting the two finalists for the permanent position, the selection committee began to search for another interim city manager to take the helm after Blanchard’s planned departure in November. He narrowed down the nominations to two final candidates – former North Adams mayor Tom Bernard ’92 and former Amherst city manager Barry Del Castilho – to succeed Blanchard.

However, Del Castilho withdrew his candidacy for the post, and the board voted 4-1 to accept Blanchard on his offer to stay in his post until the end of April rather than hiring Bernard as the second interim city manager, date on which the board of directors intends to have found a permanent city manager.

Del Castilho previously served as Amherst’s City Manager for 24 years and was most recently elected to the Buckland, Massachusetts, Restricted Board of Directors in 2018. He has held several other municipal management positions. Bernard, the other finalist for the acting role, is a college alumnus and a native of Berkshire County. Bernard served two terms as mayor of North Adams, but declined to run for a third term because, he told the Save in March 2021, he wanted to focus on driving the city through the COVID-19 pandemic rather than running a campaign.

Blanchard wrote in an email to the Record that his contract was originally scheduled to end on October 8, but was extended until November 30 after the board’s decision not to hire one of the finalists. for the post of permanent director general. Blanchard then offered to remain in the role of interim managing director until April 30, 2022, as neither Bernard nor Del Castilho were candidates for the permanent position or lived near Williamstown.

Hogeland told the Save that the board voted to extend Blanchard’s tenure because of his experience in the position and his familiarity with local affairs, such as current projects and city budgeting. “The staff at our town hall are very important to us, and Charlie has had a good working relationship with them, so I’m happy that this continues,” Hogeland wrote.

Selected board member Wade Hasty was the board’s only vote against keeping Blanchard as interim city manager. At the November 18 board meeting, Hasty criticized Blanchard’s leadership and said Blanchard had not supported the initiatives of local volunteers and the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) enough to strengthen ties. between the WPD and the residents of the city.

“Charles Blanchard has shown himself at several critical points not only to stay in tune with the traditional approach,” Hasty said at the meeting. “See Charles Blanchard put us back to where we started. Instead, choose to see further. See the need for someone with initiative, see the need to recognize the harm done in times of power.

Over the next few months, Blanchard will focus on assembling the budget for review by the finance committee in February, and administering ongoing projects, including the implementation of LED street lights, study support Williamstown CARES of public safety needs, adopting a human resources manual and implementing the changes recommended by a human resources audit, he wrote in an email to Save.

Hasty wrote in an email to Save that while he and Blanchard have different personalities, he hopes they find a rhythm to work together and that City residents voice their opinions on leadership. “Systemic biases, reinforcing systemic issues are more important than any CEO,” he wrote. “I hope the electorate of Williamstown will understand that they too have a role to play in the system. It is for them that we all work. If any of us [Select Board members] are not working in the desired direction, vote against us.


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