Vergennes chooses seasoned manager


I sensed in talking to people in Vergennes that there’s a lot of heart there. People really loved their community.
— Ron Redmond, new city manager

VERGENNES — Vergennes has hired the longtime executive director of Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace to be its new city manager.
Ron Redmond, 65, will take over for Interim City Manager Renny Perry on Jan. 18. Perry said he would leave as Redmond came aboard, but would “come in if Ron needs me” afterward.
Perry took over as interim on Nov. 13, when former manager Dan Hofman left. Hofman and the city council agreed to part ways after Hofman said he wished to leave the post he had held since January.
This search proved more efficient than each of the city’s previous two managerial searches, which were time-consuming and in one case consisted of multiple efforts.
Redmond, an Essex Junction resident, served as the Church Street Marketplace’s top executive from December 1998 to September 2019. Created in 1981, the Marketplace is technically a city department that oversees the Marketplace Business District, which averages more than 3 million visitors annually. Redmond had budgeting as well as managerial responsibilities.
According to a June 2019 article, “Redmond’s innovative tenure included helping to launch the Street Outreach Program and create the downtown’s community policing program, building a robust marketing and market research program, and sustained economic health and vibrancy through stabilizing the department’s operating budget.”
The Vergennes City Council’s unanimous Jan. 5 formal decision to hire Redmond also included the positions of delinquent tax collector and tree warden, plus a recommendation that he be appointed as the city’s health officer. That decision confirmed the offer the board made and Redmond accepted after a special meeting last week, conditional to an agreeable contract and a background check.
At the Jan. 5 meeting Redmond thanked councilors for their “kindness” and thoroughness in the hiring process.
“It was a great process for interviewing, and I really feel I got to know each of you very well. Hence I look forward to spending more time together,” Redmond told the council.
In the past year Redmond has worked in management positions for the Vermont Department of Labor and the UVM Medical Center.
Prior to his two decades with the Church Street Marketplace, Redmond worked in a variety of positions, including management, in the marketing and communications field, including with the IDX Corp. in South Burlington and Frontier Communications in Burlington.
He has also lectured at the University of Vermont, worked with the International Downtown Association’s Emerging Leader Fellowship Program, and served on a number of nonprofit boards, including Vermont Downtown Development Board (where he became familiar with Vergennes), HOPE Works, and the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County.
Redmond earned a master’s degree in Administration & Management from St. Michael’s College  and a bachelor’s in Communication & Journalism from the Annenberg School.
The Independent asked Redmond what attracted him to the Vergennes job.
“I have a personal mission of being of service and wanting to make a difference. And I think I learned so much being at the marketplace and working for the city. And that experience was wonderful. Challenging, but wonderful,” Redmond said.
“I love cities. I actually love working with people. And just that opportunity to be in that environment where it’s a little bigger area — Church Street was only four blocks. So just being able to work in an area that’s larger with more challenging issues (was attractive).”
Redmond said he also sensed spirit among city residents.
“I sensed in talking to people in Vergennes that there’s a lot of heart there. People really loved their community. And no matter what people may be feeling at the moment, that’s what really rang true for me, that people were really committed to the city’s success,” he said.
Recent divisions and controversies in Vergennes did not dissuade him. Redmond said he would be focused on helping the city move forward.
“Life isn’t perfect. It’s just like our country. Our democracy isn’t perfect, but we’re constantly trying to make it better. And I think whenever you bring people together and you’re creating community, it gets a little messy sometimes,” he said.
“You’ve got to stay focused on what the big picture is. You’ve got to make sure people feel included. And you’ve got to keep talking to people. When people are upset with each other, you’ve got to find ways to keep people talking with each other. And our goal, really, is to create community, and it’s hard. It’s not easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding.”

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