Rockingham taps Chester woman for finance director

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BELLOWS FALLS — A 36-year-old Chester woman has been hired as the new finance director for the town of Rockingham and the village of Bellows Falls.

Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison said she had offered the position to Shannon Burbela, who will be starting the job on Thursday.

Burbela, who has a master's in business administration from the online Kaplan University, previously worked briefly for West Central Behavioral Services in Lebanon, N.H., as well as Human Capital Institute in White River Junction, where she worked for eight years before it closed that office.

Harrison said Burbela was the unanimous choice of the search committee, which included Select Board Chairwoman Susan Hammond, Bellows Falls Trustee James McAuliffe, Cynthia Stoddard, the town's finance consultant, and Harrison.

Harrison said she liked Burbela's experience and energy.

"We liked her experience in financial management and human resources," Harrison said. "She has a lot of energy. She likes a challenge."

Burbela will be paid $75,000 a year.

Burbela replaces Ronald Karvosky of Marlow, N.H., who left in October after less than a year on the job. Karvosky, the former director of finance and human resources for Hubbard Farms Inc., said he found the transition from private business to municipal management too great.

Harrison, who was named manager in June, said Burbela and the town's yet-to-be-named administrative assistant, who will replace the recently retired Kerry Bennett, would be part of the management team.

Harrison said she expected to name Bennett's replacement later in the week.

Burbela, reached at home in Chester, said she grew up in Mount Holly, and that she and her husband moved to Chester 17 years ago.

She said she took some time off to have her two children, and also to care for the couple's two mothers.

She worked for Human Capital Institute for eight years. The company moved its headquarters to Ohio, and she worked from home for the company and spent a week every month either at the Ohio headquarters or in New York.

"I wanted something more local, and something where I added value. I wanted to work for a good cause," she said.

Burbela said she worked for the past couple of months for a non-profit, West Central Behavioral Services, but that the Rockingham-Bellows Falls job was a better fit.

"I have been working for a non-profit, so in a sense I already made the transition. This is where I want to be long term," she said.

Burbela graduated from Black River High School in 2000, and attended Lyndon State College for a year. In addition to working for Human Capital Institute, she was the former general manager of Black River Brewing Co. in Ludlow.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com or

802 254-2311, ext. 154.

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