POWNAL — The town office has two recently hired staff members, each bringing experience to their positions.
Tim Darter, of Readsboro, is the town’s new executive assistant, while Megan Albert is the administrative assistant.
“So far it has been great,” Darter said during a phone interview. “I’ve been able to use a lot of the skill sets I’ve acquired over the years.”
Those include serving as the executive director since 2014 of the Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat Center in Leyden, Mass., just south of the Vermont line near I-91.
He said he manages the nonprofit, while his partner, Steve Kramer, oversees programming at the center, some of which is done online.
In the Pownal office, Darter is overseeing day-to-day office operations, such as payroll, grant facilitation, accounts payable tasks and other administrative duties.
“Everyone here has been very friendly, showing me the ropes and getting me up to speed,” he said.
Darter, 50, has also done similar administrative work for small architectural firms and software development for health care uses.
He’s originally from the Chicago area and lived and worked in the Denver area before moving to the East Coast in 2006.
He received a degree in business administration from Bradley University in Illinois.
Select Board liaison Rebecca Dragon said Darter began working four days per week and has now shifted to a 40-hour week schedule, generally from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Megan is on flex time (23 to 29 hours a week), sometimes here, and also sometimes working from home,” Dragon said of Albert. “She will be doing nights for commission meetings, so we gave her flexibility to manage her own time.”
Her duties include doing agendas and minutes for the Planning Commission, Development Review Board and Select Board. Albert will also provide administrative support to Zoning Administrator Mike Gardner, Darter as executive assistant, and to Dragon as Select Board liaison.
Albert, of Bennington, is familiar with similar roles, having served for five years as recording secretary for the town of Shaftsbury. She also has worked as a substitute teacher and legal researcher.
Albert received a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Vermont College and a master’s degree in American History from American Public University. She also has done work toward a second master’s degree in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University.
PRAISE FROM OFFICIALS
“It has been a real pleasure getting to know Megan and Tim,” Dragon said. “The three of us work really well together and play off of each other’s strengths. We have quickly created a friendly culture of collaboration and shared goals. I have incredible hope for the future of the daily operation of Pownal town government with this team in place.”
As liaison, Dragon said she will continue doing “all tasks associated with writing and communication: grant applications, communication with state and county entities; outreach to residents, and anything ‘content-related.’”
Dragon said Darter was hired at $20 per hour with merit increases possible; Albert at $18 per hour with a merit increase possible, and she is at $19 per hour as liaison.
Several Select Board members praised the work of the new hires and their collaboration with Dragon.
“I am excited to work with Tim and Megan, as well our already existing staff to move Pownal forward,” Chairwoman Angie Rawling said. “I look forward to getting the new town offices built so that everyone can have the space and resources that they need to perform well in their jobs.”
A bond and financing package to construct a new $865,000 town office building on Center Street was passed by voters at the annual March election. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
“All of our new staff are doing a great job,” said Harry “Jamie” Percey. “I believe it’s going to be a positive step ahead and will really change people’s perceptions of the business of town government.”
Gardner, also a member of the board, said, “I have had the opportunity to come into the office several times now and work with and observe Tim, Megan, and Rebecca. I am impressed by their ability to work together. They instinctively seem to know who would be best suited to any given task, and are always looking for the most pro-active and efficient way to accomplish something.”
Bob Jarvis said, “Tim and Megan are very capable. They bring new and valuable tech and information skills to the table. I have already seen enormous improvement, not only in the efficacy of the office, but in the clear communication and information coming to the board.”