Jaffrey hires new town manager

JAFFREY — The Select Board has hired a new town manager nearly three months after beginning its search to fill the open position.

David R. Caron of Belmont, who worked his first day as Jaffrey’s town manager on Monday, has more than 30 years of municipal management experience, having previously served the towns of Londonderry, Gilford, Belmont and North Hampton. Caron beat out 36 other applicants from throughout the United States for the position, which was most recently held by Mike Hartman.

“The more I speak with folks around the state, the more impressed I am with the level of civic commitment here,” Caron said of Jaffrey in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Monday.

The town’s economic development initiatives, including its two TIF districts, as well as its active Planning Department were among the things that sparked Caron’s interest in Jaffrey and the town manager job. Caron said he is looking forward to learning more about day-to-day operations in town, department head goals and objectives, as well as residents’ concerns.

In terms of his own goals, Caron said, “Local governments have to ensure that they have solid financials, that there is transparency in government and that people understand that local government is approachable. If someone has a concern, they should feel welcome to address those issues.”

Select Board Chair Jeanne LaBrie said Monday that Caron is very likable and stood out among the other candidates because of his years of experience in municipal government. The board made a conditional offer to Caron about a week and a half ago, LaBrie said, but contract negotiations just concluded.

Caron is contracted to earn $108,000 annually, which is approximately $4,000 more than Hartman was making when he resigned in November 2012 to accept a job offer as town manager in Stoughton, Mass. “He has decided not to take out health insurance,” LaBrie said of Caron, adding that if he later opts for a health plan that cost will be deducted from his annual salary.

Caron has served on a number of state and regional organizations, including the New Hampshire Enhanced 911 Commission, as a past president of the New Hampshire Municipal Management Association, chair of the New Hampshire Municipal Association Municipal Advocacy Committee and chair of the Local Government Center. He holds a bachelors degree in public management from the University of Maine in Orono, Maine and is completing coursework to obtain a graduate certificate in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston in Boston, Mass.

Jaffrey’s town manager of five years, Hartman served his last day with the town of Jaffrey on Dec. 14. Department of Public Works Director Randy Heglin took over as interim town manager three days later and has since served a dual role as DPW director and interim town manager.

Shortly after Hartman’s resignation, the Select Board appointed a five-member committee, which includes Thomas Rothermel of the town’s Historic District Commission, Town Moderator Marc Tieger, Jaffrey Public Library Director Joan Knight, Steve Christian of Red’s of Jaffrey and Heglin to assist the board in its search. The Select Board also procured the services of Massachusetts Municipal Association to assist the town with advertising for the open position and collecting applications. Town officials paid between $12,000 and $14,000 for help from the firm, LaBrie said.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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