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The Commons
Town and Village

Stearns to serve as interim town manager

Originally published in The Commons issue #419 (Wednesday, August 2, 2017).



PUTNEY—To succeed outgoing Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard, whose last day is Aug. 4, the Selectboard has hired Willis D. “Chip” Stearns III as interim town manager.

According to Stoddard, Stearns comes to the position via a short-term agreement the Board signed with the New England Municipal Resource Center, and “they will decide how to proceed from there,” she said.

Stearns’s most recent job was as the municipal manager of Rockingham and Bellows Falls. He was appointed acting manager in April 2013 and served until November 2016, when he stepped down after signing a separation agreement with the town and village.

The agreement came after a dispute over Stearns’ handling of the remains of the Bartonsville Covered Bridge, which was destroyed by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Debris from the covered bridge was buried in the town gravel pit last year over the objections of some residents who wanted to see timbers salvaged for re-use.

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