Our Opinion: Shared services part of Nason's legacy

Bob Nason not only served Lee as its town administrator for 19 years he was instrumental in ushering in a new approach to leadership for both Lee and Lenox. In the process, the towns established a template for other Berkshire communities.

The packed crowd at the Greenock Country Club in Lee Thursday for a surprise retirement party attested to Mr. Nason's popularity (Eagle, July 14.) The dean of Berkshire town administrators at his retirement, Mr. Nason expected to live in Lee for five or six years before returning to Eastern Massachusetts but quickly put down roots in the community. In his understated manner he was instrumental in the revival of Lee's downtown, oversaw the arrival of a new elementary school, and guided the town through the economic challenges that confront the communities of the Berkshires.

The sharing of services is a significant way in which those communities can address those economic challenges, and with his retirement looming, Mr. Nason and his Lenox counterpart, Christopher Ketchen, began pursuing a way in which Lee and Lenox could share a town administrator, with Mr. Ketchen in that role. In a transparent process that involved both towns, a three-year pilot program was established in which Mr. Ketchen would be the joint administrator with an assistant, Lyndsey Broom, hired primarily to handle human resources issues. Residents, particularly in Lee, expressed concerns about a loss of identity, but all that defines and differentiates the towns has been clearly established and won't change.

The towns will benefit from lower administrative costs, however, which is one last gift to Lee from Mr. Nason. We urge other Berkshire towns to follow the example of Lee and Lenox and pursue shared services in both both town and educational positions and programs.


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