Lanesborough town manager to step down in June
After nearly six years on the job, Town Manager Paul Sieloff shocked the Select Board on Monday by announcing he was leaving his post at the end of June.
"It's just time for me to move on," he said.
He vowed to immediately work on helping to find a successor and help with the transition.
"I'm not going to disappear off the face of the planet," Sieloff said. "I will be available."
Word quickly spread among other town officials and residents who were watching the meeting live on Lanesborough Community Television.
Several of the viewers texted Diane Stevens, the town secretary, who works directly with Sieloff. Stevens said even she was also caught off-guard by the surprise announcement.
Sieloff, 60, was hired in 2012 as the town's first full-time municipal administrator after a series of part-timers. He currently earns an annual salary of nearly $80,000.
A lawyer by trade, the Albany, N.Y.-area resident has been in state and local government for the past 20 years.
Sieloff was Wellfleet's town administrator for five years, prior to arriving in Lanesborough. A licensed attorney in New York state, he once served as a legal counsel for the state Legislature in Albany, N.Y. He also had several years of municipal government experience in New York, including budget analyst for Albany County.
That experience lent a steady hand in steering town government in recent years.
"I could always go to sleep at night knowing Paul was in charge," said Select Board Chairman John Goerlach.
Selectman Henry "Hank" Sayers agreed.
"I don't know how the other selectmen did without a [town manager]," he said.
Despite the short notice, Sieloff is confident the Select Board can find the a well-qualified successor.
"I didn't want to give a year's notice; I think three months is plenty of time," he said. "This is a very desirable job."
It was desirable six years ago, when Sieloff and 40 other applicants — several from Berkshire County — sought the job. A special town meeting in July 2012 voted to have a full-time professional in Lanesborough Town Hall. Sieloff replaced Paul Boudreau, who resigned in March 2012 after 13 years working a 28-hour-a-week schedule.
The Select Board at the time hired an interim town administrator to bridge the gap between Boudreau and Sieloff, who was hired in late summer of that year.
The current board will soon have to decide how it will conduct a search for a new town manager.
Longtime town official Ronald Tinkham hopes the next manager lives much closer to, or in, Lanesborough, and will continue to move the town forward, as Sieloff has done. Tinkham currently serves on the local Finance Committee, Planning Board and chairs the Cable Television Committee.
"We're doing more thinking ahead now [under Sieloff] instead of doing things on an emergency basis," Tinkham told The Eagle on Wednesday.
The challenge every fiscal year, Sieloff noted, is balancing the town's needs against the burden on local taxpayers.
"We always try to be reasonable with budget requests, but we can't stand still," he said.
Sieloff vows to see through to completion as many ongoing town projects as possible before he leaves. One immediate goal is hiring two additional public works employees who will double as emergency medical technicians to ensure weekday coverage by the town-operated ambulance service.
Sieloff says the Select Board has received several applications with board's intent to interview in two weeks the most qualified for the double-duty positions.
Dick Lindsay can be reached at email@example.com and 413-496-6233.
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