By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Shrewsbury – Richard D. Carney Sr., 84, the retired town manager of Shrewsbury, died at his home Friday, Oct. 14, following a battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
In 1957, Carney, at age 29, was appointed to the position of Shrewsbury's town manager, a position he held for 41 years. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving town manager for a single town in the state. That record still stands today.
After he retired in 1998, the town acknowledged his service by renaming the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex in his honor. When the news broke of his passing that building was draped in black, and flags throughout the town were lowered to half-mast.
Shrewsbury's current town manager Daniel Morgado praised Carney.
“[He was a] true gentleman who demonstrated what it took to be an effective manager …
“He was a pioneering leader in what was then, in 1957, a new type of town government,” Morgado said.
“He left a tremendous legacy of public service and fiscal conservatism that still inspires the town today. In the 1950s and 1960s there was so much to be done for the town's infrastructure needs. He also saw the town through the tax limitations and fiscal realities of the 1980s.”
Morgado recalled how he started out in town government as an administrative assistant to Carney.
“I and others as well, looked to him for inspiration, guidance and direction,” he said. “He brought a talented group of administrators to Shrewsbury. He was at the center, but they all worked together cohesively to meet the needs of the town, infrastructure-wise and fiscally. Everything that Shrewsbury has become is the result of this collaboration.”
James Kane, the current chair of the Board of Selectmen, said Carney would be “remembered as the architect of Shrewsbury's fiscal stability.”
“Through a long-term approach to budgeting and fiscal conservatism, he realized and demonstrated through his years of service that adherence to a core set of fiscal policies that work best in the long run, even when it was not politically convenient. His legacy lives on in the culture displayed within Town Hall,” Kane said.
State Rep. Matthew Beaton, R-Shrewsbury, also paid tribute to Carney.
“For 40 years, Richard Carney was the consummate public servant, and his dedication and service to Shrewsbury as town manager set the stage for Shrewsbury's unprecedented growth. His common sense and efficient approach to town government allowed Shrewsbury to grow and prosper over the past decades,” he said.
Carney leaves his wife of nearly 58 years, Doris; six children and their spouses; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
His funeral was held Oct. 18 and he was laid to rest, with military honors, at the Mountain View Cemetery in Shrewsbury.
His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Anne's Human Services, Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services or the Shrewsbury Community Scholarship Fund.