Hodgkins excited about helping Westminster


WESTMINSTER -- The newly appointed town manager says he looks forward to further serving the only place he has ever called home.

The three members of the Westminster Selectboard present at Tuesday's meeting voted unanimously to name Russell Hodgkins as town manager, filling the spot left vacant since Matt Daskal resigned at the end of March to take a job in Manchester. Hodgkins will start his new position on Monday, Sept. 23.

"I'm very excited. This is a town I've lived in all my life. It's an opportunity that I'm really looking forward to," he told the Reformer. "I wouldn't live anywhere else. This is a great town. There are unique, hardworking people here."

Selectboard Chairman Nate Stoddard and members Craig Allen and Peter Barrett were present at the meeting.

Hodgkins, 51, submitted his application months ago and was selected Tuesday following a somewhat lengthy process.

One of three owners of Hodgkins & Sons, an excavating company, he thinks it will likely take a few years before he is completely done with it and said his "heart will always be part of it."

A 1980 graduate of Bellows Falls Union High School, Hodgkins admits he has quite a learning curve ahead of him but believes his experience on the Westminster School Board and numerous town committees has readied him for the challenge.

The new town manager said he plans to focus his energy on the renovation of Westminster Town Hall, straightening out insurance issues for town employees and handling problems caused to town roads by rainfall.

He told the Reformer the town hall cannot be repainted until the building is completely renovated (or risk the paint chipping off) and precipitation from events such Tropical Storm Irene and Thursday's rainstorm often create issues with roads.

"It's a great community and I think I have what it takes to do a good job," Hodgkins said. "I can't wait to further my helping of our community."

Stoddard said Hodgkins came out of the long search process victorious because members wanted someone born and raised locally. They also were impressed by his résumé.

Stoddard said he think Hodgkins' strong suit will probably be managing the situations involving the town hall and the roadways. He also said the town's road crew will likely see some retirements in the coming years and he believes his new town manager is best fitted to handle that.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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