City manager talks about his (eventual) retirement
VERGENNES — Vergennes City Manager Mel Hawley could step down as soon as August 2018, it was made public in Tuesday’s Vergennes City Council meeting.
Hawley has said openly in the past year or so that his second term as Vergennes city manager could be nearing a close, but rarely in detail in such a public forum.
The discussion was triggered when Mayor Michael Daniels and Senior Alderman Renny Perry wondered if they needed to add funds to the 2017-2018 municipal budget to fund a search for Hawley’s replacement, an idea that was eventually tabled.
Hawley said because of the way his pension is structured — it is complicated because of the decade between 1998 and 2008 he left the public sector to work for Country Home Products — that there is little financial benefit for him to work in his current job after he turns 65 on Aug. 7, 2018.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to work full-time after my 65th birthday,” Hawley told the council and the dozen or so citizens on hand, adding, “And anybody who knows me knows I don’t do things that don’t make sense.”
On the other hand, Hawley also said that date is not a hard deadline, and that he would make sure the city would have a smooth transition to his successor. He added he intended to fulfill his recent three-year appointment as the city’s zoning administrator, which runs through the spring of 2020.
“I want to make sure this works for everybody,” Hawley said. “I’m not going anywhere.”
On Wednesday morning, he expanded on his remarks.
“It’s not like I’m going to give two weeks notice,” Hawley said, adding, “I have not said my last day as city manager is Aug. 7, 2018.”
Hawley began working for Vergennes as its city clerk in 1977, and he became city manager in 1981, staying in that post until leaving for CHP in 1998.
Hawley stayed on as zoning administrator during his years in the private sector, and in September of 2008 served as interim city manager after Perry, then the city manager, left for a post in Vermont’s court system. In November of that year, a hiring committee removed the interim tag from Hawley’s title, and he returned to a full-time post in Vergennes City Hall.
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