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Petersham adjusting after sudden passing of town’s administrative coordinator 

  • Steven Boudreau

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 2/7/2019 10:00:07 PM
Modified: 2/7/2019 10:00:23 PM

PETERSHAM — The selectmen met in special session Wednesday afternoon to announce the sudden passing of Administrative Coordinator Steven Boudreau. Boudreau died Saturday after being taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. He was 62.

Boudreau was Petersham’s town coordinator for six years before his passing. Prior to taking that position he served as town manager for the town of Ware.

Board Chair Nancy Allen said, “We were made aware of Steve’s passing Sunday morning. We immediately notified the members of other committees and town employees. Naturally, everyone was shocked to get the news.”

“Steve often went above and beyond for other committees and people in town,” she said. “An example would be his going to the Council on Aging every Monday. He’d help with the set-up for lunch, make sure the heat was on…and then turned off again. He recently helped to reorganize a closet for them. Now all of their supplies are organized and in one place. It seems like a little thing, but it meant a lot to the people he was helping.”

Boudreau had battled cancer in recent years but, according to Allen, his death was unrelated to the illness.

“Naturally,” said Henry Woolsey, “the news came as a great shock to all of us. He had courageously fought cancer and was back doing a great job for us. He loved engaging with his co-workers and with all the people who came in here to see him or do business with the town. He was comfortable with everybody, and everybody was comfortable with him.”

“Once we heard, the selectmen had to mobilize,” said Allen. “We’ve already received a lot of heartfelt support from people; people who have volunteered to help us keep the town on track. Right now, we’re still figuring out where we need the help the most. We’re looking at the Town Hall schedule and weighing whether we need to change the hours somewhat, or even close Town Hall on Friday, which has been talked about already. Whatever hours we choose, there has to be a logic to it.”

“To honor Steve,” she continued, “we need to act proactively to keep the town running smoothly. We – the selectmen – don’t know everything that’s going on, so, we’re asking staff to let us know about anything that’s coming up; any events or anything that’s facing a deadline, for example.”

After briefly considering whether to post the position, the board decided its members would do their best to ensure that administrator’s office is covered until the end of the month.

“We do have an office assistant,” Allen said, “but as fate would have it, naturally, that person – Sherry Berube – is on vacation for the rest of February. So, we don’t have the administrative assistant to help get things organized. Of course, we (the selectmen) can’t cover everything by ourselves because of our own schedules, so we’ll need at least a couple of other people to fill in here; a couple of people from town. Naturally, they need to be personable and professional.”

Allen informed her fellow board members that she had been in contact with Berube, who informed Allen that she would be interested in filling the vacancy left by Boudreau’s passing.

“Since she’s interested,” Allen said, “I’d like the board to consider making her an offer. She’d be a natural fit. She knows the town and she knows the people.”

At the suggestion of Woolsey, the board decided to find out if it is legally bound to post or advertise the position before offering it to Berube.

Allen explained the position would become part time, instead of maintaining its current full-time status. The board chair said Berube’s employment is limited to 960 per year under the conditions of her retirement from the state job she last held.

“The beauty of us offering her the job,” Allen concluded, “is that it allows us to move quickly, instead of having to post the job, wait for applications, and train someone.”

Boudreau leaves his wife of 15 years, Debra, and a step-daughter, Erika Martin of North Andover. His mother, Doris Boudreau, resides in Chelmsford. He also leaves a sister and three brothers.

Calling hours will be held Saturday, February 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Varnum Funeral Home, 43 East Main Street, West Brookfield.

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