BRATTLEBORO — New year, new town manager, new era.
Yoshi Manale attended his first Select Board meeting as town manager Tuesday and received a warm welcome.
“It’s my first day so be patient, you know, as I learn the ropes,” Manale said. “I’m excited. I’m stepping into some really, really big shoes. Again, this is a really good moment for me and I hope it is to you as well.”
Former town manager Peter Elwell retired at the end of 2020. He grew up in Brattleboro, where he ended his 36-year career in municipal management after six years with the town.
Manale said for the first few board meetings, he expects to defer many questions to other members of town staff because they have more institutional knowledge. He suggested board members reach out with questions before meetings to give him some “prep time.”
Manale most recently served as chief of staff and deputy mayor for Mayor Reed Gusciora in Trenton, N.J. He previously 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.
Board Chairwoman Elizabeth McLoughlin wished everyone a happy new year and welcomed Manale “to our little group.”
“Looking forward to doing the town’s business with our Select Board and our new town manager,” McLoughlin said.
Board member Tim Wessel told Manale, “I think we’ll try to go easy on you because it’s your first meeting.”
Board members discussed some unfinished matters in anticipation of approving a budget in two weeks to propose at annual Representative Town Meeting in March. They also agreed to warn articles for the annual meeting for Town Meeting members to consider expanding the use of an agricultural loan fund and providing free lunch at the annual meeting.
Manale told the Reformer the board has been “very supportive and welcoming, which has made this transition into the role that much easier.”
“My first meeting was fairly uneventful, which I hope is the norm going forward,” Manale said Wednesday. “I know there are a number of important topics that the Select Board will be addressed in the coming year so I am fortunate to work with such great town staff including an experienced assistant town manager in Patrick [Moreland].”