Selectmen to miss Brenner's experience, knowledge

Northborough – A mix of sadness and joy is what the members of the Northborough Board of Selectmen felt as they listened to Town Administrator Barry Brenner, under the agenda heading "New Business," officially inform them that he would be retiring from the post he's held for more than 11 years.

It was not new business to them; they knew he had been considering the decision for some time. The announcement struck suddenly nonetheless.

"No matter what you've experienced in life, what business you've been in before you get elected to the board, you're still a rookie when you sit up here for the first time," Selectman Jeff Amberson said. "You've got so much to learn and town government, no matter what town it is, is unique. For me, Barry did a wonderful job of helping make that transition as seamless as possible and keep me from stepping on too many land mines. I didn't miss them all, but thanks to Barry, I missed an awful lot of them."

Selectman Leslie Rutan believes what stands out among all of Brenner's talents

" was his ability to put both a historical perspective and future prediction on whatever issues were facing the board.

"Barry's complete and thorough knowledge with everything, especially the budget process, was such a big help to me," Rutan said. "The town's best interest is first and foremost in everything he does, but he is also a promoter of the town at the state level as well."

Selectman Fran Bakstran said the one thing that could always be counted on in Northborough for the last 11 years was Brenner.

"He was a stable constant of the town," Bakstran said. "Whenever you were in other communities as a representative of Northborough, other selectmen and town officials always wanted to know how Barry was and always asked you to give their regards to Barry."

Dawn Rand, who is the only selectman currently on the board who has worked with a Northborough town administrator other than Brenner, excused herself – as did another selectman – from the November 1996 vote that brought Brenner to Northborough. Rand said at the time she was uncomfortable with both finalists.

"And all our concerns ended up being for naught," Rand said. "I don't think we could have ever found a more fair person, no matter how many searches we conducted."

Brenner, who was selected from a pool of 63 candidates for the position, succeeded Charles Kellner, who left Town Hall one day in April 1996 and did not return.

Selectman Bill Pantazis thanked Brenner for helping him through the rough spots this year as chair of the board.

"We talked often," Pantazis said. "Anytime there was something on the agenda I was unfamiliar or unsure about, I would ask Barry about it and he'd always begin his explanation by saying, 'The last time this came up, what we did was ….' Every time I look at his chair after he retires all I'm going to see is a big hole. I can't thank him enough for all he's done for me."

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=2314

Posted by on Apr 25 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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