Suhoski reelected co-secretary at annual Small Town Administrators meeting  

  • Governor Baker joined with STAM to recognize the earliest work of regional town administrators from the so-called “Circuit Rider” program spanning the mid-1970s to late-1980s.  Standing (l to r): Athol Town Manager Shaun A. Suhoski, Governor Charles D. Baker, Tom Guerino, Charlie Seelig, Patricia Vinchesi, Susan Wright, Roberta Crosbie, Deborah Radway, James Purcell, Wendy Foxmyn and Jay Moynihan. —Submitted photo

Published: 6/11/2019 9:45:21 PM
Modified: 6/11/2019 9:45:15 PM

PRINCETON — Gov. Charlie Baker delivered the opening remarks for the 35th annual meeting of the Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts at Wachusett Mountain on June 6.

Baker spoke to his administration’s efforts to engage cities and towns as partners in success, citing the Community Compact program as a key early initiative that has expanded best practices and targeted funding assistance to more than 300 municipalities. He called out the need to encourage more housing opportunities in the commonwealth through a bill that would allow a simple majority — rather than a two-thirds vote — to enact zoning reforms to encourage housing unit development, and also outlined the need to support the Municipal Vulnerability Program with a funding stream so that communities can become more “resilient” in the face of a changing climate.

With more than 50 current municipal leaders in attendance, the daylong program also included recognition of STAM’s predecessors; the so-called municipal “circuit riders” that provided town administrative services to rural communities in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. As the governor looked on, 10 former circuit riders who cut their teeth as regional administrators received professional recognition pins from STAM and later shared humorous anecdotes from their early days serving in many communities where the town hall was not open during regular business hours. Many of those in attendance went on to enjoy long careers in municipal administration.

The annual meeting also featured Timothy McGourthy, deputy  executive secretary of the Office of Housing and Economic Development, leading a panel on infrastructure funding sources together with a presentation by Sujatha Krishnan of the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission on how to program major projects into the regional Transportation Improvement Plans. The discussion also included key case examples and guidance from Nicolas Bosonetto, of VHB, and Allen Orsi, of PARE Corp., on how to package projects for multiple funding sources.

An update on Beacon Hill activity was provided by Massachusetts Municipal Association Legislative Director John Robertson followed by an afternoon planning session led by Linda Dunlavy, executivedirector of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments seeking input for the Rural Policy Advisory Commission’s pending report to the Legislature and administration on issues of particular relevance to rural Massachusetts.

At the business meeting, the membership re-elected Andrea Llamas (Northfield) as chairwoman; Heather Budrewicz (Ashburnham), vice-chairwoman; Kelli Robbins (Lanesboro), treasurer; and Shaun Suhoski (Athol) and Matt Streeter (Granby) as co-secretaries. STAM is a professional association of chief administrative officers from more than 70 municipalities with populations of 12,000 or less.

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