CLAREMONT, N.H. — Three months after Brattleboro’s town manager resigned his position, the town of Claremont announced it had hired him as its city manager.
Octavian “Yoshi” Manale is expected to be on the job starting Oct. 3 with an annual salary of $130,000.
Manale’s last day in Brattleboro was June 3, just seven months after he took the job, which he won over 50 other applicants who were being considered to replace longtime Town Manager Peter Elwell.
Manale received a $60,000 severance package from the town, half of his annual salary. He also received another 12 weeks of health coverage benefits, $3,565 in accrued time off, and as much as $6,000 in moving expenses.
‘Not the right fit’
In his letter of resignation, he wrote: “The prominence of this position creates drawbacks for me to fulfill the duties of the job most efficiently. I am not the right fit for this position.” He also wrote that “The smallest community I worked in was almost five times that of [Brattleboro]. The larger populations afforded me anonymity that I did not appreciate until now.”
Manale also faced criticism after the board asked him to end the town’s 56-year relationship with Rescue Inc. and develop a plan for the town to takeover EMS services.
Brattleboro contracted with Golden Cross Ambulance for one year to provide EMS support during the transition.
Claremont mayor owns Golden Cross
Golden Cross is owned by Dale Girard, the mayor of Claremont, which has a nine-member City Council.
“I’m one of nine votes,” Girard told the Reformer.
Girard said that Manale wasn’t even on their radar for the job until after he quit Brattleboro.
“I know what perception outside looks like,” said Girard. “They feel as though maybe I had gone down there and spoke to him before. I absolutely did not. There was no communications with Yoshi.”
He also said that discussions with Brattleboro to provide ambulance services occurred before Manale left Brattleboro, but those discussions were with the Fire Department, not Manale.
“He went through the same interview process that all of our other candidates did, where he was actually required to apply through our private consultant,” said Girard. “They did the whole interview process before it even got back to our City Council.”
Girard asked his fellow council members if he should recuse himself during any employment discussions with Manale.
‘Nobody saw a conflict’
“Nobody saw a conflict because he had already left his position,” said Girard.
Girard said he and the council asked Manale why he left Brattleboro, but Girard didn’t offer details of those conversations.
“The answers we were given, we were comfortable with,” he said. “Sometimes you just don’t fit in with communities. We’re still a very small community, 13,000. But we talked with him about it, and we felt comfortable with the answers.”
City likes Manale for same reasons as town
Girard said many of the same reasons that the Brattleboro Select Board felt he was qualified for the job are the same reasons Claremont hired him.
“Economic development is one of Yoshi’s positives, and we have a great economic development director,” he said. “Sometimes if you have a manager that can work closely with your planning and development director, it helps you to try to continue to see the path and work together as a team.”
Manale was not available for comment.