If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And then try one more time.
Such was the unintentional but rewarding path the Brattleboro Selectboard embarked upon almost 16 months ago in a search for a new Town Manager. Along the way, multiple searches were undertaken as selected candidates declined to take the offered position.
The searching has come to an end with a signed contract between the Town of Brattleboro and Peter Elwell, the current Town Manager of Palm Beach, FL being executed Thursday evening by the Selectboard.
Selectboard Chair David Gartenstein said that Elwell has the experience, perspective, vision, and attention to detail that the job requires. Elwell was in town for interviews last Friday and Monday.
Elwell’s contract will be for four years at a salary of $95,000, which Gartenstein said was in the right range for Vermont municipalities. He will receive an annual $5,000 motor vehicle allowance and benefits, and the town will pay moving expenses for his family from Jupiter, Florida.
He will begin January 20, 2015. As such, he will not be an active participant in shaping the upcoming budget.
Elwell was born and raised in Brattleboro and graduated from B.U.H.S. in 1980, according to Gartenstein. He is the son of Corwin “Corky” Elwell, a former and longtime Brattleboro Town Manager. This is the first time in town that a father and son have both held the position of Town Manager.
Kate O’Connor said Elwell knows the area, but has had useful experience away. She said he has impressive credentials and was enthusiastic in his support of and return to Brattleboro. She expected people to find him to be a wonderful person.
Donna Macomber was also impressed with his love of Brattleboro as well as his sincerity, calling him committed and hard working.
John Allen said it was remarkable what the town ended up with after so many setbacks, calling Elwell leaps and bounds above other candidates. He said Elwell has a great personality.
David Schoales said that Elwell combines the best skills of each prior candidate, which makes for a great ending to the search process.
Gartenstein said that Elwell had not applied in the initial three rounds, but applied after the most recent candidate pulled their name out of consideration.
The contract was unanimously approved by a happy board.
Everyone who participated and helped the town in the search process was also thanked for their time and effort.
From the Palm Beach Florida municipal website:
Peter Elwell has been Palm Beach Town Manager since February of 2001. He has over 28 years of experience as a local government professional, including over 25 years with the Town of Palm Beach. Other communities Mr. Elwell has served include the Township of Roxbury, New Jersey (where he was the Township Manager from 1999 to 2001) and the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where he was an aide in the Mayor’s Office of Community Services from 1986 to 1987).
As Town Manager, Mr. Elwell is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the Town, including management of a $65 million general fund budget and over 340 employees. He also advises the Mayor and Town Council on matters of Town policy and is responsible for implementing the Council’s decisions.
Mr. Elwell is a member and past president of the Palm Beach County City Management Association. He has been a member of the International City/County Management Association since 1982 and also is a member of the Florida City/County Management Association. His other public service affiliations include 11 years as a member (3 years as Chairman) of the Palm Beach Countywide Beaches and Shores Council.
As a volunteer, Mr. Elwell is Treasurer of the Town of Palm Beach United Way, a member and Past President of the Palm Beach Flagler Rotary Club, a member of the Quantum Foundation Grants Committee, and a member of the Quantum House Advisory Council. He previously served 7 years on the Board of Directors (3 years as Chairman) of the Deaf Service Center of Palm Beach County and 3 years on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Palm Beach County. He also has been a youth league basketball and baseball coach.
Mr. Elwell earned a Master of Governmental Administration degree at the University of Pennsylvania where he was the first Stephen B. Sweeney Scholar. He earned a BA in Political Science at Middlebury College in Vermont, including high honors for his senior thesis, “The Politics of Community Development.” During his college years, Mr. Elwell received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship Program, the official Federal memorial to President Truman, provides national recognition and generous funding assistance to students preparing for careers in government.