BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro’s new town manager was described as “an enthusiastic and positive student of our town,” by Select Board Chairwoman Liz McLoughlin during a special meeting on Tuesday night.
“One of the greatest strengths that Yoshi [Manale] has is his enthusiasm for government and governance and getting into the nitty gritty of policy, while at the same time he really has an affection already for Brattleboro,” McLoughlin said.
She described his love for Brattleboro and for governance as “a dynamite combination.”
Manale most recently served as chief of staff and deputy mayor for Mayor Reed Gusciora in Trenton, N.J. Manale is replacing Peter Elwell, who has served as town manager since 2015 and announced his retirement in April.
During Tuesday’s meeting, McLoughlin said the town received 94 applications from across the country, which were winnowed down to 11, with interviews conducted via Zoom, resulting in two candidates coming to Brattleboro to meet with the Select Board, town staff and department heads and a committee of community members.
Manale is due to start in December. He told the board he was excited to be moving to Brattleboro but wanted to save any remarks for when he actually gets to meet everyone in Brattleboro.
However, he did say in a news release announcing his selection that he was thankful to be given this opportunity.
“The chance to help Brattleboro in progressive cultural change and sustainable development drew me to this opportunity, and I look forward to meeting and building positive relationships with the many active community partners and individuals in this beautiful town,” he stated.
“I was super impressed with not only your energy and enthusiasm and experience that you will bring,” said board member Tim Wessel during the meeting. “But also how your energy and short meetings with many of our staff here in town really rubbed off on them. It left an impression.”
“When the town starts to get to know you they will see that you are a person with great vision and leadership and experience,” said board member Daniel Quipp. “We are lucky to have you and you are lucky to have us.”
Board Vice Chairman Ian Goodnow also thanked his fellow board members for going through the process with “grace and humility.”
And board member Jessica Callahan Gelter said she was excited that Manale had chosen Brattleboro and Vermont.
Before working in Trenton, Manale worked in the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services in New York City, as director of operations and budget for Kean University, in Union, N.J., as township administrator in Bloomfield Township, N.J., and in public policy staff positions with the New Jersey Legislature.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from New York University.
Manale is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland.
“We thank Peter Elwell for his exceptional service as Town Manager for almost seven years,” stated McLoughlin in the news release. “He will leave a sound town government, as well as a legacy of kindness, mutual respect and trust with all of Brattleboro. We wish Peter well in his retirement. Our new town manager will find that Peter is leaving our town well prepared to address the opportunities and challenges ahead, with active community involvement and the assistance of our very capable town staff.”
Mercer Group Associates, a national public sector executive search and consulting firm, assisted the Select Board with its search.