SHAFTSBURY -- At Monday's meeting of the Shaftsbury Select Board, longtime town administrator Margy Becker announced that she will be resigning from the position, effective July 23.
Select board chairman Tim Scoggins said that Becker would be returning to her roots in New Hampshire, and the town had already begun looking for a replacement. "We've been thinking of all types of ways to entice her to stay and help us through this," he said. The town had pegged Dennis McCarthy to act as town administrator until a replacement could be found, but that will no longer happen, said Scoggins. He said the town has already received about 10 applications for the position, and that Becker would do everything she could to help with the transition.
Becker was unanimously appointed by the select board to the position in June of 2009, at the conclusion of the town's second try at finding an administrator. Previous town administrator Aaron Chrostowsky had left the position the previous April, after informing the board of his intentions to do so in December. At the time, then-board chairman Lon McClintock was quoted as saying that the board was pleased that Becker accepted the position, and described her hire as "a good thing for the town."
In an interview with Scoggins on Thursday, he said, "Margy has done a great job and we hate seeing her leave. We are a young board and have come to rely on her competence and experience to keep us on track. We will manage, thanks to a great team at Cole Hall that includes stand-outs at treasurer, town clerk and Z.A. But it won't be as easy without Margy covering all the bases the way she did."
Karen Mellinger, former select board chair, worked with Becker for almost all of Becker's time in Shaftsbury, up until Mellinger's resignation from the board this past March.
"She came in with a skillset that was so needed in Shaftsbury," said Mellinger, who said that Becker brought a combination of grace, professionalism, and humor to Cole Hall. "I can't say enough good things about her," she said, "I'm very sad to see her leave, but I'm happy for her, and thankful for everything she did for this town."
Becker has a bachelor's degree in history from Connecticut College and a master's degree in environmental studies from Antioch University New England. Prior to working for the town of Shaftsbury, she worked as a solid waste planner and grant administrator for the Two Rivers Attauquechee Regional Commission in Woodstock between 1988 and 1993, and on the Hartford, Vt. planning commission from 1994 to 2003.
Mellinger said that Becker's experience in state regulations and grant application procedures made her invaluable to the select board. "Frankly, there were times when the select board really needed some guidance," she said. Becker played a crucial role in acquiring the sidewalk grant for Church Street and Route 7A, for which construction is tentatively scheduled to begin next spring. She also worked with Bill Pennebaker to improve Shaftsbury's website, and helped the town acquire aid after Hurricane Irene, said Mellinger. "She really grew to love Shaftsbury," she said, "She knows every road in this town."
Becker did not respond to a request for an interview.
While Mellinger no longer serves on the select board, she still appreciates how much Becker meant to the town. "She may be a physically small woman," she said, "but her shoes are very big, and will be very hard to fill."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB