by Nat Frothingham
MONTPELIER — In a City Hall interview April 12, City Manager William Fraser confirmed that he is one of three finalists for the position of town manager for the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Under Massachusetts law the names of finalists are released publicly.
Amherst is located in western Massachusetts in the Connecticut River Valley and is home to Amherst College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hampshire College.
Fraser has served as Montpelier’s city manager for 21 years. According to a press release issued by Mayor John Hollar and City Manager Fraser, “The Montpelier City Council and Fraser have been negotiating during the last month over renewal of Fraser’s contract, which expired on March 12. By mutual agreement, Fraser has been working under the terms of his most recent contract.”
Fraser told The Bridge that he applied for the Amherst town manager position in mid-March after seeing an online job listing from the International City/County Management Association.
Then at the end of March, Fraser had a phone interview with a representative of a consulting firm that has been helping the Town of Amherst with its search for a new town manager. Next, Fraser had a face-to-face interview in Amherst with a citizens’ hiring committee that is made up of some of the major stakeholders in town.
Shortly after that interview (and that was last week) Fraser got a call from the consultant firm to let him know that he was one of three finalists for the position. At that point under Massachusetts law, Fraser’s candidacy became public and Fraser immediately informed the Montpelier City Council of the situation.
But nothing definitive has been settled, yet. All three finalists for the town manager position are being invited on separate days to spend a day in Amherst. At the end of April, Fraser will go down to Amherst for a day. He will meet with Amherst town staff, including department heads and others. He will also meet with members of the (Amherst) general public who will be invited to ask questions. At the end of the day Fraser will meet with the select board.
Then, of course, the select board would have to make a choice from the finalists and negotiations would follow. Of course, Fraser noted, “I would be looking to see it it’s right for me, too.”
Fraser spoke with genuine warmth about Montpelier and liking it here and he also offered this comment as well, “I love this community and our city team, being city manager here has been a tremendous professional experience. It is a wonderful home for my family. After 21 years, though, some may feel that it’s beneficial to make a change.”