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Select Board votes unanimously to appoint Lazarus as town manager

by | Jul 9, 2024 | Featured: News, News

The Select Board at its meeting Tuesday night voted unanimously for Elaine Lazarus to be appointed as Hopkinton’s new town manager, pending successful contract negotiations.

Before the vote, the board interviewed the finalists for the position: Lazarus, Lance DelPriore, Chris Senior and Jason Hoch. Each candidate was interviewed for 45 minutes with a set of questions that were presented in virtually the same manner. After the interviews were conducted, Select Board chair Brian Herr suggested that the issue should be tabled until the end of the meeting, when board members could decide if members were comfortable with making their selection then.

During her interview, Lazarus described her passion for public service, stressing her planning and volunteer experience.

“My love of municipal government comes from as early as I can remember,” she said, noting she read her town’s annual reports as a teen. “I couldn’t wait to go to my first Town Meeting when I turned 18.

“I began to think about municipal government in a more holistic way,” she continued, noting that she earned a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University. “And I wanted to do more and be more for a community.”

Lazarus pointed out that she wrote the town’s board and committee orientation handbook and plans to work closely with members to help them “be empowered.”

She stressed the importance of “leading by example.” In her new role, she plans on working collaboratively with town staff, residents and board/committee members.

Added Lazarus: “I think that that form of leadership can really propel a community in a forward way and try to achieve the goals that it sets forth.”

Near the end of the meeting, member Joe Clark suggested that each member name their top two finalists to limit discussion time. Everyone selected Lazarus as their top choice, with Clark noting that she was “head and shoulders above everyone” because of her 32 years of service to the town.

Lazarus was the top candidate because she “can hit the ground running,” said member Mary Jo LaFreniere. She has served as the interim town manager for the past few months in addition to her role as assistant town manager, making her the logical front-runner because of her extensive experience and knowledge of the town’s issues.

Member Amy Ritterbusch added that Lazarus “really stood out” from the other candidates and “answered the questions very clearly and succinctly.”

“I get compliments from residents all the time about the job she does,” she continued. “And I know she’s grown from one role to another. I really think she’s ready for this role and will be an excellent fit.”

Member Shahidul Mannan praised Lazarus for her “long-term understanding and relationship with the community and of our town’s problems and challenges” as well as her focus on improving communication strategies.

Herr stressed that all four candidates had positive qualities that would help them succeed. Others echoed that sentiment, noting that each finalist was qualified for the role to some degree based on their experience and interview performance.

Opinions differed on the runner-up, with three choosing Senior and two supporting DelPriore. LaFreniere, Mannan and Ritterbusch preferred Senior, while Herr and Clark chose DelPriore as their second pick.

Clark suggested that the finalists be considered to succeed Lazarus in her job as assistant town manager. Herr said that could be discussed with the town manager when she assumes the position, which is contingent upon contract negotiations.

After the vote, Lazarus reentered the meeting room, where she received a standing ovation.

“I really appreciate the opportunity,” she said, adding that she wanted to thank “everyone else who was involved with the [hiring] process.”

“We’re very excited for the town,” said Herr. “We’re very excited for you. It’s a great fit.”

“I was surprised but pleased that the decision was made [Tuesday] night,” Lazarus commented in an email to the Independent Wednesday evening. “I had expected that it would be at the next meeting on the 16th.”

While she has many top priorities, she plans to “focus on financial planning/debt management as we head into the fall” with guidance from the Select Board.

 

1 Comment

  1. Beth Malloy

    Could not be happier for Elaine. She knows so much about our town and is a pleasure to work with.

    Reply

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