KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- Planning Director Dan Monks will take on the duties of assistant town manager, a position that has gone unfilled since 2000 and was approved to be reinstated Monday by the Select Board.
"This position, recently reinstated by the Select Board at my request, will provide a clear chain of command to the employees and the public, will allow the Manager's Office to better handle the myriad aspects of governing that seem to be ever-increasing, and will provide a seamless transition when I eventually leave office," wrote Town Manager Stuart Hurd in a statement.
Hurd said in an interview with the Banner that he has no plans to leave office anytime soon, but in the event he does, Monks can fill the town manager role until a permanent one is hired. Hurd said he discussed designating Monks with the board in an executive session.
"I think what it will help me to do is to learn new things about town government that I may not be quite as knowledgeable about, in particular union negotiations, personnel issues, as well as budgeting issues," Monks said in an interview Wednesday. "So I look forward to that, look forward to learning more and educating myself and being more well-rounded in my knowledge of the town and community."
He said he and Hurd have worked closely together on a variety of things already.
"I am very passionate about my job," Monks said. "I want to work for the Town of Bennington for the rest of my career and this is a good step for me to become more knowledgeable about things that are happening in the town."
Monks will retain his duties as planning director and zoning administrator, but will also become acquainted with the details of union negotiations, legal matters, and other items the town manager focuses on. Hurd said Wednesday that the assistant town manager will be able to act with authority when he is made unavailable. He said Monks' salary will be increased slightly over the next three years. He said he does not know the exact amount of the increase and must look at what is available in the budget.
Monks is a native of Bennington who has been working for the town since 1998. He has a legal background in real estate and has already been working in the town's talks with the Environmental Protection Agency about alleged contamination at the Kocher Drive landfill. He has also been key in working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding Tropical Storm Irene recovery.
The designation becomes official on Sept. 1, while Monk's first day as assistant manager will be Sept. 3.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.