St. Johnsbury Interviewing Town Manager Candidates

By Amy Kolb Noyes

St. Johnsbury is looking to hire a town manager.

Town Manager Ralph Nelson was fired last April, without any public explanation. Nelson is suing the town for wrongful termination, but the trial has yet to get under way. In September the town hired Assistant Town Manager Dawn McPhee to serve as interim town manager. But the select board fired her as well in late December. According to the town website, Merelise O’Connor came on board January 7 as the new interim town manager.

Now, ten months after the first controversial firing, the St. Johnsbury Select Board will be interviewing candidates to fill the town manager vacancy.

The select board has warned a special meeting for 5:30 Monday on the first floor of the Pomerleau Building. The agenda calls for an executive session for personnel matters and town manager candidate interviews.

The town advertised for town manager candidates and accepted applications until November 16. The advertisement stated the job offered a starting salary range of $50,00 to $80,000 “with an excellent benefit package.” However, the ad also stated, “The town of St. Johnsbury cannot guarantee long-term employment due to pending legal litigation.”

For more on the town manager controversy in St. Johnsbury, listen to VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb’s November interview with Caledonian Record Reporter Todd Wellington, who has been covering the story.