Second search to replace Hawley seen as hopeful

VERGENNES — Vergennes Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz on June 26 updated the Vergennes City Council on the search for a replacement for City Manager Mel Hawley.
Hawley will retire July 24, and after the city committee led by Fritz came up empty-handed the council agreed to hire the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to handle the search for a new Vergennes manager.
Fritz, head of the city manager search committee, reported that as of June 22 VLCT had received 23 applications that League officials considered to be “qualifiable” to take over from Hawley.
Council members said they considered that total to be good news.
“If you have 23 candidates that’s very encouraging,” said Alderman David Austin.
Fritz said VLCT officials also have contacted potential interim managers and that the search committee “expects names soon” for fill-ins until a permanent candidate can be found.
Mayor Renny Perry, a former city manager in Vergennes and New Hampshire, confirmed an interim will be needed because the time a currently employed manager can give notice in order to start by July 24 has come and gone.
“If we got someone right now they would not be able to report for duty,” Perry said.
Planning commission chairman Shannon Haggett also updated the search for another replacement for Hawley, who also serves as zoning administrator. Haggett said at least three candidates for that job have emerged.
“One way or another we’re going to have someone in place. I’m very confident,” Haggett said.
In other business, council members:
•  Authorized Mayor Perry to sign an application for a $25,000 grant from PetSafe for a dog park, which could be sited in Falls Park if the grant is awarded.
•  Heard from Perry that the July 24 city council meeting will be held in the Vergennes Opera House and will include a celebration of Hawley’s decades of service to Vergennes. Snacks and refreshments will be served, he said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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