Heard on the Street – 10.23.14

Kellogg-Hubbard Board Names Tom McKone as New Permanent Director

Thierry Guerlain, president of the board of trustees of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, has announced the appointment of Tom McKone as the library’s new permanent director. McKone’s appointment took effect on October 15.

In a phone conversation with The Bridge, Guerlain noted that over the past several years, Kellogg-Hubbard has had a number of library directors who have come aboard and left—often after a short period of service. “It felt like we were off the rails,” Guerlain said. “It’s been a rough patch.”

About 10 months ago when previous library Director Richard Bidnick left Kellogg-Hubbard, the library’s board of trustees decided not to rush out and hire a new director. Instead, beginning January 1, 2014, the board hired an interim director, Tom McKone, a move that gave the library board a period to think and plan. At his hiring as interim director, McKone told the library board of trustees, “I’d be happy to stay for eight months or 18 months, as long as it takes you to hire a permanent director.”

Beginning this past May, the Kellogg-Hubbard trustees launched a nationwide search for a permanent director. Said Guerlain, “We cast the net as wide as we could.” In due course the trustees reviewed 30 resumes with one from as far away as Wisconsin. The board interviewed nine candidates and subsequently came up with a short list of three finalists. Guerlain said that these three short-listed candidates were seen as “good.”

But in what Guerlain described as a Cinderella ending to the nationwide search, it was Tom McKone who emerged as the person the board was looking for. By way of background, Guerlain said, “Tom [McKone] had not applied for the position. When we hired him he said he was not interested in the full-time position.”

In explaining this turnaround, Guerlain said, “The hiring committee recognized that Tom was a man of high integrity. In not applying for the position, McKone was “sticking to his word” as given when he applied for the interim position. Given the circumstances, the board decided to relieve Tom of his earlier statement and invite him to apply. “Sure enough,” said Guerlain, “Tom had fallen in love with the library. He really liked the job. And when invited to apply, he did apply, and was hired enthusiastically.”

Talking a little more about the surprise ending to the search process, Guerlain said, “Here we were conducting a nationwide search. It suddenly dawned on the hiring committee that [Tom] was getting more done and making more people happy than we’ve seen for years at the library.”

According to Guerlain, Kellogg-Hubbard has four “constituencies” that are of daily concern to the library director: patrons, donors, staff and the board of trustees. “They all liked him,” said Guerlain. “There were smiles all around.” And further, Tom was fostering great relationships with the five communities that Kellogg-Hubbard serves: Montpelier, Middlesex, Worcester, East Montpelier and Calais.

When the search for a new director was launched in May, it had a nationwide outreach. But as the search process continued, McKone’s local roots and job performance emerged as compelling assets.  McKone had been a library patron for over 30 years. He had served as an English teacher and school principal. He had worked at U-32 High School for 24 years. He had also served on the town of Worcester Select Board and as select board chair for five years.

Said Guerlain, “Tom is someone who knows how to manage budgets, finance, fundraising, a historic building, staffing, as well as run the library. He was head and shoulders the best pick for Kellogg-Hubbard Library. We’re thrilled to have Tom as our new library director.”

Montpelier Public Works Director Resigns

Todd Law, Montpelier’s director of Public Works since 2006, submitted his resignation on October 20 to City Manager William Fraser. Law has accepted a supervisory position with the Vermont Agency of Transportation. His last day with Montpelier will be November 7.

In a news release, Fraser thanked Law for over eight years of service. “Todd has made many contributions to the city and [the Department of Public Works] including a reorganization of supervisory structure, the strengthening of our internal engineering capacity, implementation of the employee cross training program and introduction of stormwater management concepts.”

Fraser will initiate a hiring process for a successor and is reviewing options for the interim period.

Basket-Makers for Victims of Domestic Violence

Photo by Michael Jermyn

Photo by Michael Jermyn

These members of the Women’s Alliance of the First Baptist Church of Barre have been putting together gift baskets for women who were victims of domestic violence as they arrived at an emergency shelter. They presented Circle—the domestic violence support agency—with a check for $450 from money they had raised by selling pies at the (July 23-27) Barre Heritage Festival this past summer. Left to right: Connie Weston, Lida Mugford, Muriel Gray, Anne Chamberlin, Meg Kuhner, Shirley Clark, Judy Palmer, Paulette Major, Lorna Carty.

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