Editor’s note: This story by Darren Marcy was first published in the Valley News on June 28.
WOODSTOCK — The town has an experienced interim municipal manager to bridge the gap until a permanent manager can be hired.
Tom Yennerell, of Springfield, is a retired town manager who is now spending some of his retirement taking on interim roles such as this. He previously served in an interim capacity as Thetford town manager.
The Woodstock Selectboard and the town Board of Trustees approved Yennerell’s hiring at a joint meeting in early June, and he started work shortly thereafter. He is expected to remain in the post at least for the rest of the year. Woodstock Selectboard member Keri Cole said Yennerell came recommended from several sources, including the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
“After our interview with him, we were delighted that we could bring him on board to help us in this transitional period,” Cole said.
Yennerell served in manager roles in West Rutland and Springfield, Henniker, New Hampshire, and Mancos, Colorado, a small town in the southwestern part of the state. He retired from Springfield in 2019, and in October 2020 he went to work in Thetford as its interim town manager.
Yennerell is taking over for William Kerbin Jr., who “voluntarily resigned,” according to his separation agreement signed May 2, three weeks after he was placed on paid administrative leave.
No reason was ever given for the action, but Kerbin was given 22 weeks of severance pay, a letter of recommendation and an agreement that the town and its officers would not say anything negative or harm his reputation.
Both boards approved a motion to hire Yennerell, “under the terms discussed,” in executive session without revealing those terms.
Yennerell said he’s working without a contract to start, but said he is earning $2,400 a week. He said he gets a phone allowance but no mileage, and there are no vacation or similar benefits.
Fire Chief David Green had been carrying the load since Kerbin was placed on leave, filling in on a temporary basis as municipal manager. Green has been helping Yennerell get acclimated.
Yennerell doesn’t have an end date, but he estimated it will be the end of the year or longer.
His job until then will be pretty straightforward.
“Primarily, it will be keeping the ship upright and things on course,” Yennerell said. “We’ll have to put together a budget; that’s going to be a time-consuming task. It always is. We need to have that finalized by January.”
The Selectboard will publicize the permanent position nationally and put together a hiring committee with members from both boards, the local citizenry and business owners, Cole said.
A request for proposals is expected to be sent to municipal recruitment firms this week, trustees chair Seton McIlroy said.
The Selectboard and trustees will review the responses and make a joint decision on which to hire for the town manager search, she said.