New faces in Dalton leadership


DALTON — There's new leadership in town.

New faces and old ones in new roles are filling town positions following multiple retirements and resignations.

For Melissa Davis, it was an obvious choice to apply for the town collector position after the long-serving Jane Carman retired in September.

Davis worked alongside Carman as the assistant town collector for two years.

"I've done the job, and the opening was there, so it only made sense," she said.

She had been filling in as town collector since Carman retired, and was confirmed to the job by the Select Board at its meeting on Oct. 23.

She has long worked in finance.

"It's been so many years, I can't remember all my titles," she said in between accepting residents' payments in her office one recent morning.

She was formerly a finance officer and also a bookkeeper.

As town collector, she issues real estate and property tax bills to town residents, and processes payments.

A boring job for some, perhaps, but not for Davis.

"I love it," she said. "I've just always been in finances."

The town is seeking an assistant town collector to fill Davis' previous position.

Like Davis, Brian Duval has spent years in his chosen field.

The building inspector for West Stockbridge, he was hired as Dalton's full-time building commissioner in September. He retains his title in West Stockbridge.

As building commissioner, he reviews all applications for building permits and performs inspections. He also acts as the town's zoning enforcement officer.

It keeps him busy.

Nowadays, almost anything requires a permit, except for limited exemptions for things like tiling or cabinet work, he said.

And if it requires a permit, it needs an inspection, he said before leaving his office to do an inspection one recent Monday morning.

Duval remembers having to take people to court for violations before.

He hasn't had to do that in Dalton.

"That's never the fun part of the job," he said. "Somebody's got to be the bad guy."

Dalton previously received building commissioner services from Don Torrico, Adams' building commissioner, through an intermunicipal agreement.

The Select Board voted to hire a full-time commissioner in May, as a full-time commissioner would have more time to be involved in other town boards like the Stormwater Management Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Kenneth Walto, town manager, began searching for a full-time commissioner immediately. The Select Board ratified Duval's appointment on Sept. 11.

The town also recently appointed Alice Liebenow to the Dalton Housing Authority, Debra Kovacs to the Historical Commission and Nicholas Leveque and Joseph Kennedy to full-time status in the Dalton Police Department.

And Kimberly Gwilt was selected to replace assistant librarian Kathy Hoag, who retired in September.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at, at @BE_pleboeuf on Twitter and 413-496-6247.


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