by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — Sue Allen, former deputy chief of staff for Governor Peter Shumlin as well as former managing editor of The Times Argus (among other things), has been named assistant city manager for the City of Montpelier May 9. She will start May 22.
Allen will fill the shoes of former Assistant City Manager Jessie Baker, who had served from April 2013 until February 2017, when she went on to take a job as city manager of Winooski.
Allen said that in many ways the new job dovetails with her previous experience in state government as well as journalism.
“Historically, professionally I’ve always been in public service. I would include journalism in public service. That is important to me,” Allen told The Bridge by phone May 11. “The assistant city manager job felt very comfortable to me.” Asked what her particular area of responsibility would be? She said she has not yet gotten down to those details yet. But she said her role in state government has similarities to the job in city management, that is, “facilitating services in an efficient and affordable manner” as well as “making sure roads are plowed, paved and safe.” Another parallel is that in working for the governor she had good teams in place to work with and she feels the same is true in City Hall.
City Manager William Fraser wrote in an announcement, “Sue brings extensive background in public service and leadership. We will benefit from her well established communication skills and battle tested experience with government service delivery. Her familiarity with state government will help the city on many projects and initiatives.”
She is also familiar with Montpelier — having lived on Upper Terrace Street for 15 years following a year stint living on Langdon Street. “I really love the city and know the city well. It felt like a good fit.” She said she has great respect for the city manager, Mayor John Hollar, city staff and city council.
According to Fraser, “Allen was selected from a very competitive field of 78 applicants hailing from 27 states and two countries.” The selection process included an advisory committee consisting of former city council members, community representatives, department heads and city staff. Her starting salary will be $87,000 annually.
After working in the Shumlin Administration Allen worked for the Associated Press as a freelance writer and as a researcher for the Times Argus. She lives in Calais with her husband, Jim Picone, a physician’s assistant with Clear Choice MD urgent care clinic in Berlin.