Selectman resigns, hired as interim town manager
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | April 20,2013
BRANDON — A selectman resigned from his post Friday morning to become the town’s new interim town manager.
Selectman Richard Baker stepped down after more than 10 years on the Board of Selectmen to take the town manager position. He is replacing Christopher Brickell, the town’s police chief, who was hired earlier this month temporarily for the post while the Select Board searched for a more permanent interim manager.
Select Board Chairman Devon Fuller said Brickell resigned from the position early Friday morning before the Select Board interviewed two candidates, Baker and another person he did not name.
“Mr. Baker thought about taking the position long and hard,” Fuller said. “After two close calls, we had to step up.”
He said they did not want to keep the police chief managing both his department and the town affairs for more than two weeks.
“We can only express our gratitude toward Chris,” Fuller said. “It was a great sacrifice on his part. We can’t thank him enough.”
Brickell, and now Baker, replaced Keith Arlund, who resigned as town manager last month after more than nine years.
The board chairman said the board had considered several candidates for the post over the last couple of weeks but for one reason or another they never panned out. He said of the two candidates interviewed during an executive session Friday, Baker was the best candidate.
“Mr. Baker understands all the projects,” Fuller said. “He will hit the ground running.”
Baker is a retired government worker with the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Navy. He served on the Select Board on and off for more than a decade, including as chairman.
Attempts to reach Baker for comment were unsuccessful.
The vacant spot on the Select Board will need to be filled, Fuller said. There is still one year left of the three-year seat.
Fuller said they are still negotiating what Baker’s compensation would be and would not disclose any amount until the contract is signed. He said, however, Baker will start immediately as there are several projects in town that need to be taken care.
In the meantime, the town continues to search for a permanent town manager. They have partnered with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns who, according to Fuller, is still accepting applications.
Fuller said the board expects the process of hiring a new town manager could take anywhere between two and six months.