Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin announces retirement


WILLIAMSTOWN - Peter Fohlin, who has served as town manager here for nearly 15 years, has announced that he will retire April 26.

He made known his intent in a letter to the select board during Monday's meeting.

Tom Sheldon, former chairman and member of the Select Board, said Fohlin's abilities and talents will be sorely missed.

"It's been a truly masterful performance," Sheldon said. "He mastered all elements of the job of town manager."

Fohlin could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Sheldon said Fohlin was able to assemble a very good team in town hall, handled the finances of the town deftly — allowing the town to avoid a number of financial pitfalls — and has a deep understanding of state, federal and local laws and the legal framework surrounding them.

Sheldon also pointed to Fohlin's ability to communicate effectively and responsibly with officials and residents alike.

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After Tropical Storm Irene hit Williamstown and swept through the Spruces mobile home park in 2011, Sheldon was witness to how Fohlin can handle an emergency situation.

"He responds very well in a crisis," Sheldon said. "After Irene, he took it on as his problem. And he instituted a multi-phased effort to deal with that, which took vision and a in-depth knowledge of how the state and federal governments could help."

James Kolesar, vice president for public affairs at Williams College, said Fohlin earned a reputation for his professionalism and productivity in his many dealings with the college.

"Peter Fohlin is a wonderfully thoughtful, knowledgeable, and effective town manager, whose heart is in the right place," Kolesar said. "We're fortunate to have had him. On everyone's minds right now is the Spruces and Highland Woods projects, in which he's been instrumental.

Sheldon said the Select Board will soon schedule a retreat to begin the process of searching for a new town manager.

"We all knew this day was coming, but even with forewarning, it was still very sobering," he said. "We're all still reeling a little bit, but intent on carrying on."

"I'm sure that by leaving the town's affairs in such good order, [Fohlin] has made the position desirable to a great many strong candidates," Kolesar said.

Contact Scott Stafford at 413-496-6301.


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