MANCHESTER — At 8:15 a.m. this morning, Scott Murphy officially became Manchester’s new town manager, as the Selectboard officially appointed him to the role and signed his employment contract.
With those formalities concluded after a short meeting, Murphy raised his right hand and took the Vermont oath of office from Town Clerk Anita Sheldon.
After taking the oath — in which the appointee pledges to “be true and faithful to the state of Vermont, and that I will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the constitution or government thereof” — Murphy said his first order was business was finding himself an office chair. With that out of the way — with an assist from Water Commissioner Doug Kilburn — he planned to “meet people and find my way around.”
The board, with its minimum quorum of three members present — Ivan Beattie, Heidi Chamberlain and Laurie Kunz were present, while Greg Cutler and Jan Nolan were absent — first quickly disposed of its annual reorganization with a single motion. Chamberlain moved and Kunz seconded the motion to retain Beattie as chair, Cutler as vice chair and Nolan as clerk. The board also unanimously agreed to carry over its rules, including limiting regular meetings to two hours unless an extension is voted.
“Thank you very much for your confidence,” said Beattie, who was reelected to a three-year term by Town Meeting voters.
Murphy, clad in a suit and tie and carrying a travel mug, sat in the audience of the Kilburn Meeting Room at Town Hall with several department heads and onlookers watched.
First, Chamberlain voted to end Perra’s temporary appointment as of 8:15 a.m., with much thanks to her and the entire town staff for the extra work they put in after former Town Manager John O’Keefe resigned to take a post in the Williams College athletic department. The motion carried unanimously, and the board and assembled town employees applauded Perra for her efforts.
Chamberlain then moved to appoint Murphy as of 8:15 a.m. That, too, passed unanimously.
Murphy said he’d already heard from some Manchester residents about their concerns while he was still town manager in Ludlow.
Murphy was manager in Ludlow for five years, after five years as Wilmington’s town manager. In that role, he helped Wilmington recover from the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene.
Murphy previously served as a community and economic developer for the town of Bennington, as a branch manager for Bennington Savings and Loan, and as commercial lender at Chittenden Bank. He also owned and operated Bennington Bagel for 16 years.
Murphy was chosen out of a field of 12 candidates and three finalists, including Perra.
"I just want to thank everybody,” Beattie said to Perra and the assembled town workers. “Everybody in this room certainly stepped up and contributed to keeping the town running like a well-oiled machine.”
“I want to think Leslie for what I perceived to be her leadership in this time and also the help she's given each of us in her way trying to make this transition as good as it could be,” Kilburn added. “She helped me a great deal trying to help the citizens — which I think is what it’s all about.”
Given a chance to speak at the meeting, Perra deferred.
“Any parting shots, anything we need to address?” Beattie asked. She shook her head slightly, with a nonverbal “no.”
A Bennington resident, Murphy and his wife, Wendy, have four children, all of whom graduated from Mount Anthony Union High School, and six grandchildren.