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Residents meet town manager finalists as end of selection process nears

by | Jun 21, 2024 | Featured: News, News

Town manager candidates

Town manager candidates (clockwise from top left) Lance DelPriore, Elaine Lazarus, Christopher Senior and Jason Hoch appear at Thursday’s meet and greet at the Hopkinton Public Library. PHOTOS/JOHN CARDILLO

Residents sat down with the finalists for the town manager position Thursday night at the Hopkinton Public Library.

This meet and greet was one of the final steps in the selection process. The Select Board felt it was important for the public to interact with the candidates before final interviews.

The four finalists display a wide range of civil service and public sector experience. Each spoke to their background, qualifications, and visions for the role.

Christopher Senior

Christopher Senior has a long record of civil service. He currently serves as Cohasset’s town manager, a role he has held for over a decade. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as deputy town supervisor in North Hempstead, New York.

While he is a New York native, Senior’s roots are in Massachusetts. “My mom grew up right in Stoneham,” he said.

Senior received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Before attending law school at Hofstra University, he worked for a time at a MetroWest radio station.

“I’d always been interested in law, but I was told to wait a bit first before going to law school,” Senior explained of his educational background.

Senior’s vision for the town manager role appears to focus on financial management and governmental cohesion.

“Capital investments aren’t cheap,” he said, “and they have to be made — even those [projects] you don’t see.”

On the topic of cooperation and collaboration, Senior compared local government to a team sport. He also stressed that staff are the most important resource for any given town.

Said Senior: “It’s about bringing people with divergent viewpoints together to find consensus.”

Lance DelPriore

One of the younger town manager candidates, Lance DelPriore brings just as much enthusiasm for the role.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for change in this town,” DelPriore said.

DelPriore currently serves as town engineer and assistant director of Public Works for the town of Foxborough. Previously, he was assistant town engineer for the town of Sharon.

“I’ve been working for towns with similar growth curves [to Hopkinton] for a while now,” he said.

DelPriore served in the United States Air Force before earning his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He went on to earn his Master of Public Administration from Suffolk University in 2022.

Advancing into a town manager role has been a long-term goal for DelPriore. “I’ve been working for this for a long time now,” he said, speaking to his interest in the position.

Should DelPriore be selected for the job, his aims seem to focus on community needs and infrastructure.

When asked about the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority project, he reflected on the costs and benefits to the town.

Said DelPriore: “It’s a big change for the town, and it’s something that would be on the top of my radar.”

Transparency appeared to be an issue of importance to him as well. He applauded the efforts of HCAM and others to make sure town meetings were recorded and accessible for residents.

When asked why he continues to pursue work in public service, DelPriore’s response was simple: “Being able to make people’s lives better and safer is what I like to do.”

Jason Hoch

Hopkinton resident Jason Hoch has worked across the public sector in a variety of roles.

Hoch’s current role is deputy director of the Innovation Institute at Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. There, he and others work to facilitate innovation across multiple technology sectors and grow the commonwealth’s “innovation economy.”

Prior to this role, Hoch held executive roles in local government. He has previously served as town manager for the town of Williamstown and as town administrator for Litchfield, New Hampshire.

“I’ve been doing this work for over 20 years,” said Hoch.

Hoch received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College. He completed a graduate program in community and regional planning from the Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

Some of his thoughts on improving town government center on unity. “You’ve got to focus on building the team and getting them to work together,” Hoch said.

He also cautioned about the issues that arise when departments are too siloed or partitioned.

Hoch feels his deep experience in local government work will be a valuable tool he can use in the town manager role.

Added Hoch: “I feel I can bring a fresh set of eyes on issues and bring something new to the table.”

He also voiced respect for the work of all the various town committees. Hoch said he would do his best to work with all invested parties to move progress forward in town.

Elaine Lazarus

Over the last few months, Elaine Lazarus has been serving the town as interim town manager. Now, she hopes to make it a permanent appointment.

“I’ve enjoyed being interim town manager,” said Lazarus. “And I think I can help the town in this time of transition.”

Lazarus first came to Hopkinton as a town planner in 1992. She has spent the last few decades in service to the town. Prior to her current interim role, she was assistant town manager. She also manages the Land Use Department.

Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in environmental design from UMass Amherst. She received a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University in 2015.

When asked about her priorities if she were offered the role, she pointed to financial management.  “We’re moving into budget season in the fall,” Lazarus explained.

Another focus appears to be on enhancing collaboration, long-term planning and smoothing out future projects.

“We should be looking for new opportunities and ways to engage with one another,” said Lazarus.

Guiding the town through recent changes also is a priority.

“Managing and welcoming the change happening in the town is important,” she said. “We have to grow and evolve in a positive direction.”

2 Comments

  1. John Ferrari

    I will admit I do not know any of the other candidates besides Ms. Lazarus. I worked with here while on and chairing various Town Boards and Committees. She is without a doubt one of the most competent and talented people I have ever worked with. She has provided unbiased information to the various Town departments and at times I am guessing she should have been listened to more carefully. In a leadership role I believe she would be a tremendous leader for the Town in a very challenging period. Even though I am in North Carolina now I have run into people who know Hopkinton government and bring up Ms Lazarus’s role not only in Hopkinton but she has an exceptional reputation in the Planning Community.

    Reply
  2. Scrooge McDuck

    Chris Senior has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride.

    Reply

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