By Zenya Molnar, Contributing Writer
Northborough – When John Coderre first arrived in Northborough, he had no intentions of staying long or working for the town. He thought Northborough was in an ideal location, accessible to Boston and all points north, south, east and west. Now, he said, Northborough has been his “adoptive hometown” since 1997, describing the town as a “great community” with a good reputation for excellent schools.
Coderre, who has been the Town Administrator for Northborough since 2008, started working for the town in 2003. Prior to working in Northborough, he was the assistant town manager in Chelmsford.
Coderre first experienced working in town administration while he was finishing his master’s degree in public administration as an intern for the town manager in Mansfield, Conn. During his first job after graduate school, Coderre said that he realized how direct his relationship was with the people in the community.
“To see the impact immediately just hooked me. From there I stayed with it,” he said.
One of Coderre’s favorite places in Northborough is the Senior Center, a place which he describes as “extremely inviting.” He is proud of the community’s investment of resources into the building of the center. Along with the completed Northborough Free Library renovation project and the current Lincoln Street School restoration project, he appreciates how the accomplishments are tangible. He also is quick to mention that a team of people in the community contribute to these efforts.
“You can pay people to work, but you can’t pay them to care or be passionate about what they do,” Coderre said.
In the town offices, he said that they try to find people with a zest for public service, and then the work comes naturally.
“I’m here entirely by choice. I sort of fell in love with the town, and I fell into working for the town,” Coderre said.
In November, the Town of Northborough received its fifth consecutive award, the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, for its budget in the 2015 fiscal year. Coderre is especially proud of the award, the highest level that can be achieved in municipal finance, since he began his role as town administrator when the world economy began to slide into a recession.
Coderre’s vision for Northborough reflects his current work.
“I hope to leave Northborough fiscally in great shape with excellent services at an affordable price point so that folks can continue to stay,” he said.
Coderre, who takes his inspiration from people he encounters in life, said that he went into public service “because at the end of the day you want to feel like you’ve accomplished something real.”
As the town administrator, Coderre greatly improved the communication between town administration and the community. He strives to make town board members and community members alike feel invested in decisions and outcomes.
Coderre identified how Northborough is different from other communities.
“The communication and level of cooperation among the town officials is second to none,”
he maintained. “That’s why we’re able to do all these projects [and] bring budgets together that everybody agrees on.”
For Coderre, his job allows him to “make a genuine contribution and a difference [in the community] in a way that you can point to.”
It is fulfilling for him to walk out the door of the town offices and see the buildings, roads, and services that are implemented by the town.
“I find everything that I do for the town has double meaning for me. It’s not just a job; my family is here,” said Coderre, who has two children in the Northborough school system.
Coderre’s work life and volunteer life are one in the same, a philosophy that propels him through his work every day.
“That’s what inspires you to work harder than just punching your time clock for 40 hours a week,” he said. “You tend to put more into it and you tend to get more out of it.”