PUTNEY - It has been a very smooth transition for new Putney Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard because for the past five years, Stoddard has been working with former Town Manager Chris Ryan as the town's finance director.
As an employee for the New England Municipal Resource Center Stoddard traveled all over Vermont, working with town managers on their budgets and balancing the books for town employees and selectboards.
One of Stoddard's towns was Putney and so once a week she would spend the day inside Putney Town Hall, going over the town's records and working with the staff.
Stoddard never imagined that the NEMRC work would eventually lead to a position in one of her towns, but when Ryan announced
"Chris and I worked very well together and I've always liked working here in Putney," Stoddard said this week after taking over as the full-time town manager on July 1. "When Chris said he was going to retire he asked me if I'd be interested and we took it from there."
Stoddard and the Putney Selectboard agreed to terms in the early spring and she has been working closely with Ryan over the past few months as he was phasing out.
Like any other busy town manager, Stoddard adopted a number of ongoing projects that she has been juggling while she eases into the job.
The sidewalk project is ongoing
The Putney Pool is open for another year, the Conservation Commission is preparing its plan for the newly acquired Wilson Wetlands and the Energy Committee is working toward changing the town's lights to LED fixtures.
The auditor will be in Friday to begin working on the 2012 audit and budget season starts in a few months.
But Stoddard said as the finance director she has had a role in most of what is going on in town and when Ryan turned in his key there were very few surprises.
"I don't feel overwhelmed," she said. "Everyone has been helpful and they have welcomed me. It has been a good fit."
Getting back into municipal management is a bit of a home coming for Stoddard, who served as Westminster's Treasurer for three years in the mid-1990s.
She still lives in Westminster with her family and her husband, Nate, is on the Westminster Selectboard.
Even though the transition was as smooth as could be expected, Stoddard did have to think it over a little before deciding to leave her position at NEMRC where she worked for 13 years.
So far it has been a good decision, she said, and it is a lot easier driving down Route 5 every morning from Westminster to Putney compared to the hundreds of miles she put on her car every week when she was working in town halls around Vermont.
"No one here had to go through a tough transition. We all know each other's quirks and when I need to ask a question I know where to go," said Stoddard. "There is a lot going on, but it feels good.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.