Wilton makes offer to interim town administrator

  • Name herePhoto courtesy the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript... Name herePhoto courtesy the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • Paul Branscombe Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, July 05, 2018 4:2PM
March 2016: Wilton votes in favor of creating town administrator positionAug. 2016: Wilton hires Scott Butcher as first town administratorMarch 2018: Butcher resignsMay 2018: Town hires Paul Branscombe as interim town administrator

Interim Town Administrator Paul Branscombe will be moving into the position permanently, the Wilton Select Board announced during its Monday meeting.

Branscombe has been in the position part-time since early May, taking over the vacancy left by the abrupt departure of his predecessor, Scott Butcher, who resigned with complaints of lack of consistency in his job expectation from the Select Board.

Branscombe was hired through Municipal Resources, Inc., a company that assists municipalities in filling empty town positions such as administrators or police chiefs to fill the position until a permanent replacement could be found. Branscombe was a candidate who applied for the position in 2016, when Butcher was ultimately hired.

Branscombe said he’s excited for this new chance.

“I still feel that as the next town administrator, this is a blank page where we can work with the town office and Board of Selectmen and make some really positive changes,” Branscombe said in an interview Tuesday. “I like the community, the people are lovely, and the Economic Development Authority is enthusiastic and motivated, so we’re going to work to see the Main Street bubbling again.”

MRI did initial screenings of candidates before presenting a slate of potentials to a volunteer Town Administrator Search Committee, who then made three selections for the Select Board to interview, according to Select Board Chairwoman Kellie-Sue Boissonnault. Branscombe was the final selection, and a conditional offer has been made to him.

“There are a number of different reasons,” said Boissonnault of the board’s final decision. “He has the experience, and we felt he would fit with our town.”

In the time that Branscombe has been in the interim position, Boissonnault said, he’s shown to be a good leader of the town’s employees, and worked well with other communities.

“Paul has been working for us part-time since May, and he’s still been able to get a lot done in that time,” said Boissonnault. “He’s very open to the community and wants to be involved.”

Branscombe is a self-described “work-aholic” who likes to be the first one in and the last one out of the office.

“I like to be the one turning the lights on and the one turning the light’s off,” he said.

Branscombe said that in his short tenure, the key has been getting the administrative office fully staffed again, after the departure of the former town administrator, bookkeeper and administrative assistant within a week of each other.

“It’s up and running again, with me now filling that final role,” said Branscombe.

During his tenure, the Select Board has also begun to livestream its board meetings and post an archive online, with Monday being its first test of the new system.

“It just shows that the board wishes to have more transparency with the public,” said Branscombe, which he said was a positive direction for the town.

He has also initiated additional meetings between both the department heads and administrative employees, and administrators will be doing more cross-training to ensure that there are backups and safeguards in place, and encouraging an “open-door policy” with the public said Branscombe.

“It’s about encouraging good communication,” he said.

The town will also be undergoing an audit in the coming week, and assuring the town’s financial health to prepare for the fall budget season.

His hiring will be conditional on passing required background checks.