Management rotations let us guess in 2021
Change is evident in cities as people come and go. In key positions, however, a retirement or departure can lead to complications and adjustments.
Sometimes this retreat brings decades of experience with the departure, losing institutional knowledge and understanding of processes that cannot be easily replaced.
This year is marked by many departures and new faces in key positions.
Several cities in the Item Zone will start in 2022 looking for people to take the helm at the top.
New police chiefs take the reins, with local officers rising to the top of the ranks.
And a variety of other Head of Department positions have changed or will change in the coming months.
Sterling was on the cusp of a year since a new city administrator began when trouble drove Kellie Hebert to leave, starting this city on the path to finding a new person to lead the administration of the city. Interim administrators Frank Aponte and Kama Jayne return to their roles from a year ago, leading the city while the search continues.
Research is already planned in Lancaster, where Orlando Pacheco is leaving on December 31 for a new job in Georgetown. As the city begins its research, former administrator Ryan McNutt, who worked in the city between Pacheco’s previous tenure and his last stint, will take over on an interim basis.
In West Boylston, city administrator Nancy Lucier plans to retire in June, ending a career with the city which saw her move from administrative assistant to that position. She initially refused to take the job, but when the screening men couldn’t find a suitable candidate, she took on the job serving her hometown.
And several police officers moved to the post of chief.
Brian Coyne took the reins from longtime Clinton boss Mark Laverdure mid-year.
More recently, John Annunziati became chef at Boylston after the retirement of Chef Anthony Sahagian.
And in Berlin, where chef Thomas Galvin has moved to become chef at Sherborn, Eric Schartner was recently “pinned” as the new chef.
A new chef will be appointed at some point in Lancaster, where Edwin Burgwinkel has retired, with Everett Moody taking the interim post. And at Sterling, Chef Gary Chamberland is expected to retire at the end of his contract.
Numerous management positions for services and interaction with the public have evolved during the year in several towns in the region:
The city has changed little, although David Smith has stepped down as director of the DPW and his potential successor has stepped down, putting the city back to square one for ongoing research.
Fire Chief Kenneth Clark remains after state approval to stay past mandatory retirement age.
The major change is that Schartner, a 26-year veteran of the department, is appointed chief of police.
The city has seen only a few changes with a new DPW manager in Randy Heglin and a new city planner, Valerie Oorthuys, who has learned the ropes while also being responsible for providing several grants to the city.
Longtime police chief Sahagian retired after two extensions to the mandatory retirement age authorized by the state legislature.
Sgt. John Annunziati of the department was chosen as the new leader after research and interviews with four finalists and was sworn in on December 6.
A new library director, Erica Hout, was chosen when Jenn Bruneau left for the Northborough library. But Hout didn’t need a long time to settle in since she had already worked as an assistant.
CPA Director Laura Susanin has stepped down from this role, creating an opening that the city is seeking to fill.
A new police chief began on July 9, but that wasn’t a new face as Lt. Coyne took over from Mark Laverdure, a 34-year veteran of the department. Laverdure retired as chief of police from Clinton in January, but continued acting until Coyne was appointed the new chief.
Facilities manager Brian Farrgaher started in February after the departure of first manager Russell Karlstad, who moved to a similar position in Fitchburg.
In local schools, Meghan Silvio and Alyssa Piermarini have moved from acting to permanent in their roles as principal and vice-principal, respectively, at Clinton Elementary School, after serving as acting since July 2020.
The city has also hired a new person to head the city’s cable television operations, with Mark McMinn becoming Clinton’s new cable manager in May.
The city administrator Pacheco officially leaves at the end of the year. He had returned after his contract was not renewed several years ago, as part of the contentious departure that led McNutt to fill the role.
Pacheco was then rehired. He is now leaving to become Georgetown City Trustee, with McNutt returning as Acting Trustee.
The city plans to have more movement after the retirement of Police Chief Burgwinkel, with Lt. Everett L. Moody playing the acting role.
A new municipal clerk in place, taking the role just before the spring elections. Lancaster’s acting city clerk, Melissa Pelletier, left abruptly on March 26, having replaced former city clerk Dianne Reardon. Lisa Johnson, of Boylston, got the job on April 9.
And the city eventually replaced its former city planner, Michael Antonellis, who left but continued to fill the role. Lancaster hired Jasmin Farinacci as the new planning director in November.
Lancaster hired an interim human resources manager in the spring. Sandi Charton would become permanent.
Lancaster recreation director Andrea Kiruru-Shepard resigned in August. Michelle Currier was appointed to the post on December 20.
Brian Gringas was appointed Lancaster building inspector in October.
And long-time Thayer Memorial Library employee Karen Silinsiorn retired in October. Rachel Rosengard has been hired to replace her.
The city administrator, Hebert, was fairly new and spent time not only adjusting to the way Sterling does business, but also the need to hire staff.
She herself found herself in the ranks of departures less than a year after her departure on December 1, 2020 after being put on administrative leave in October.
The city served as director of the DPW, bringing in former Holden Water Department superintendent Ryan Mouradian in November to fill the post.
Lighting Plant General Manager Sean Hamilton retired after overseeing the department and building a reputation for alternative energy sources and battery storage. He was replaced by Darren Borge, a 13-year-old department employee who had headed the operations department.
Sterling’s building commissioner Sarah Culgin resigned, and former home inspector Tony Zahariadis was brought in on an interim basis, eventually becoming permanent.
Recreation director Kristin Dietel has resigned and Sandra Habe was hired for the job in May. Shari Gonsorcik was hired for the job in October after Habe left.
Sterling planner Domenica Tatasciore resigned in October, shortly after Hebert’s leave.
Pat Campbell retired from the Sterling Public Library at the age of 73 in August. Betsy Perry has taken over as Library Director, Alisa Iannucci as the new Youth Services Librarian.
Police chief Chamberland could open another local police chief position if he retires at the end of his last contract.
The city is expected to see Nancy Lucier, city administrator and longtime assistant to administrators over the years, leave in June.
At DPW, a multi-year effort led to the hiring of an interim director. The renewed search came to an end when the city hired Kevin Duffy for the job.
City clerk Elaine Novia has retired, and Rutland’s deputy clerk Daymian Bartek was hired for the post in November.
Fire Chief Thomas Welsh plans to retire in August, opening another managerial position in town.
Nashoba School Superintendent Brooke Clenchy has announced that she is retiring at the end of the school year, leaving at the end of May to take an acting position at Nauset. Todd Maguire served on an interim basis until the new superintendent was hired. Kirk Downing defeated two other finalists to become Nashoba’s new superintendent.
Kathleen Boynton has been appointed the new principal of Nashoba Regional High School, taking charge of the school which serves Bolton, Lancaster and Stow. The school has had an interim principal for over a year.