Town Managers Play Key Role

Jun 10, 2013

Rockingham Municipal Manager Tim Cullenen with trees pulled out of area rivers after Tropical Storm Irene.
Credit VPR/Nancy Eve Cohen

While the town select board is the most identifiable form of local government in Vermont, 56 towns in the state also have a town manager. The role of these chief administrators is often overlooked and few of us understand what these individuals actually do on a daily basis.

"The town manager is basically the Chief Executive Officer of the municipal corporation." -Steve Jeffrey, VLCT

Steve Jeffery, the executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, told Vermont Edition that town managers play a key role both on a day-to-day, and in times of crisis. 

Jeffery says that town managers are “responsible for things as widely disparate as the waste water treatment plant to the recreation programs to the maintenance of the town highways.” In addition, town managers are also responsible for hiring and firing town employees, as well as managing the town budget.

In time of crisis – such as Tropical Storm Irene – Jeffery says that town managers also play an essential role: “The town managers is kind of the emergency coordinator, the person who makes sure all the parts move in sync as one machine."

(Click "Listen" above to hear the entire interview.)