Brattleboro Selectboard Special Meeting Notes – A New Town Manager

Yoshi Manale

The Brattleboro Selectboard held a special meeting to announce the hiring of a new Town Manager, to fill the slot vacated by retiring Peter Elwell. They announced the hiring of Octavian ‘Yoshi’ Manale as the next Brattleboro Town Manager and approved the contract to hire him. He hails from NJ, and begins in the new year.

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  • The meeting...

    The board and member of the public join zoom….

    Pre-meeting banter about darkness, Daniel not hearing what they can say, but he can…

    Chair Elizabeth McLoughlin – we’re all here and it is time so let’s begin. The purpose is to discuss the possibility of a new town manager designate. So, our first order of business is to discuss the employment agreement with the new town manager. The board knows, but the public should know that we spent a great deal of work working with our consultant. We got 94 applications and reviewed them and considered many nationally and found that we should interview 11 semifinalists, then narrowed it to two who came to visit who met with board, others. We used criteria. So, we have now selected a designate and we have a contract prepared… discussion?

    Tim Wessel – no, nothing before…

    Liz – we have a contract between Brattleboro and Octavian Yoshi Manale. Let me ask the board – all in favor?

    5-0. A new town manager hired.

    Liz – comments?

    Daniel Quipp – thanks to Sally Nix for HR help in the town. Good support and insight. Very helpful to the board and glad where we ended up.

    Tim – I’d say the same thing. We had over 90 applicants – we had 20 highly qualified applicants. The narrowed it down. Quite a process. very rewarding.

    Ian Goodnow – I echo all that. I want to thank people – it was a long process. One of the most important things the board can do. Thanks, Sally Nix, Patrick Moreland, Ellis, Department Heads, to Peter, and to community members we tapped to come in. Zoe Cunningham Cook… and Yoshi. I’m excited to work with him and impressed with his skills and abilities and only feel optimism for working with him in the future. And thanks other board members.

    Jessica Gelter – echo all the thanks laid out already and to Liz for her leadership as the Chair and point person. Appreciated how you approached that. Grateful we included the community in the process with the community panel. I value the input the community had in making the selection.

    Liz – one of the things we all struggled with as we approached this with trepidation because of the existing town manager. What we found when we listed the qualities we were looking for… many of us were dreading the change but I think we found in Yoshi someone we can be comfortable with in making that change. Peter Elwell is leaving us a sound town government. Let’s welcome Yoshi Manale to the meeting.

    Liz – his excellent qualifications – served in Trenton NJ since 2018, worked in mayor’s office in NYC, and worked at a university in NJ, worked in public policy staff positions in NJ state legislature. MA from NYU, so, Yoshi…

    Elwell – I don’t see Yoshi or Ellis on the list of participants. Some confusion?

    Liz – I don’t see anything in the email, and he has Patrick’s email.

    Elwell – Sally says they are trying to get in. We’ll overcome the technical issues.

    (Board chatter to pass time…)

    Liz – I’m pleased and confident with our selection. It will be great for the future of Brattleboro.

    Elwell – I want to thank the board, since we have this moment. You… I felt so grateful in the appreciation you described about my announcement. I’m grateful I’ve been appreciated. You all know, I spent some time with each of you and all of you as we launched the search, asking you to please not use our appreciation of each other as the measuring stick, and there are a lot of ways to do this work well. A person who has strengths I don’t bring. I was excited for you as the process unfolded, and as you got excited about people, and Yoshi in particular. My observation is you not only worked hard but well, and were well assisted. Look forward to seeing you all get going in the new year.

    Tim – all I know is Elwell’s time as a town manager. This new time is pretty daunting. All of us know Peter Elwell’s style of town management. We’re excited about getting started

    Liz – one of Yoshi’s greatest strength is enthusiasm for governance, and an affection for Brattleboro already. A student of our town, and that’s dynamite.

    Elwell Patrick is trying to bring in Ellis.

    Liz – a press release will go out at the end of this meeting, and the contract will be made public and official later.

    Elwell – I have had an update that the effort is continuing. We may get Ellis. Maybe we take a short break while we get it sorted out. Maybe 15 minutes… 6:50?

    Liz – see you all at 6:50.

  • Official name...

    Octavian ‘Yoshi’ Manale

  • Part 2

    Liz – Let’s here you say that you accept?

    Yoshi – I do accept and am excited to join in December.

    Liz – You and Peter will have time to work together.

    Tim – I was going to thank Yoshi to put up with our dramatic reveal… a lot of people tuning in to see who our next town manager will be. I was impressed with not only your energy and enthusiasm and experience but also how your energy in short meetings with staff rubbed off on them and it left and impression.

    Daniel Quipp – really happy you accepted and excited to work with you. I think when the town gets to know you they see you have great vision and leadership. We are lucky to have you and you are lucky to have us.

    Ian Goodnow – congrats. We have a lot of work so let’s get to it.

    Liz- you’ve done a great job in all of your posts. I believe Brattleboro is lucky to have you and am glad you want to move and live here.

    Yoshi – this is the right time for me and I’m excited about being in Brattleboro.

    Jessica – I’m excited that you want to be here and in Vermont and want to make the town amazing and wonderful. I’m tickled that you chose us as much as we chose you.

    Yoshi – I’m more of an in-person person. I’m halfway around the world now on a zoom call. Excited to start, I’ve been looking at places, and move after Thanksgiving. Hope to see you very soon.

    Liz – congrats again. The press release is being released as we speak and you’ll see what you need to see.


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