Select Board begins search for replacement
By Polly Lynn
KILLINGTON — Killington Town Manager Seth Webb announced Wednesday, Oct. 7, that he was stepping down after being recruited to a new position in the private sector. Webb has been with the town for six years. Webb said he accepted the position of managing director for Tusk Ventures, the first political strategy firm which specializes in helping start-ups analyze and navigate regulatory and political challenges at local, state and national levels and pursue opportunities in the public sphere. “It was simply an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” Webb said.
“We’re happy for Seth, but this is a loss for the town. He has made some tremendous contributions, acting both as town manager and economic development director, and filling his shoes will be a challenge,” said Select Board Chair Patty McGrath. “We have begun our search and expect to have a replacement hired by the end of the year.”
The Select Board will enlist the help of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to conduct a search for the next town manager and it has asked for Webb’s help to drive the process.
Webb served the town as its economic development and tourism director from 2010-11 and as its town manager from 2011-2015. In a statement released Wednesday, the Select Board credited Webb for many economic initiatives during his tenure, including leading successful efforts to rebuild the summer tourism economy, recover from Tropical Storm Irene, develop long-term capital plans and improve the sense of arrival to town. He was also credited with spearheading the establishment of Routes 4 and 100 as Vermont Byways, improving the relationship between the town and Killington Resort and with securing over $1 million in grants, and sponsorship to support town projects. In 2011, his efforts earned Killington Town the Governor’s Award for Marketing Excellence, and Vermont Business Journal named Webb as one of Vermont’s most accomplished young leaders at its Rising Stars event.
“The Town is a better place because of Seth’s work and he will be missed,” said Select Board member Chris Bianchi. “Seth brought a strategic approach to town government and got people to work together towards a common goal. His efforts not only ensured steady day-to-day operations, but also helped grow our economy and make our community a more viable place to live and work.”
Webb also played an important role in strengthening the town’s public safety departments, improving waste management services, expanding recreation amenities and increasing citizen participation in town government. He oversaw the creation of the police department and assisted with the establishment of Killington Search and Rescue as a division of the Killington Fire Department. Webb initiated upgrades to the town solid waste services, including introducing zero-sort recycling. By creating partnerships with local landowners, he built and permitted new hiking, biking and kayak trails. Additionally, his efforts to establish citizen committees to guide policy and management for important municipal services and initiatives including Green Mountain National Golf Course, property tax reform advocacy, and community growth, have increased citizen participation and improved service.
“He will be missed, I think he has been under-appreciated,” said Vince Chiarella, co-owner of Boss Office Works and treasurer of the Killington Pico Area Association. “He did a great job under difficult circumstances and the town is much better off now than when he started. I really enjoyed working with him on behalf of the KPAA to bring positive change to the area. He really worked hard for the town.”
Webb’s last day with the town will be Dec. 31, 2015. Prior to then, Webb is confident that the Killington Select Board will select a replacement and he’ll be able to help facilitate a smooth transition.
“We’ve made a lot of great progress these last few year and I think the town is on a path to become the premiere destination resort community that it set out to be,” Webb said. “The Select Board is looking for a town manager that will continue to execute its strategic plan. There are a lot of plans in place to continue moving this town forward.”
The Select Board first adopted their strategic operating plan on April 10, 2012, and it has been unanimously re-adopted each year since. The concept of becoming a premier resort community initially emerged during a series of community meetings organized by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) in 2008, two years before Webb took his first position with the town. Over 250 residents participated in the creation of the VCRD report and action plan. That community guidance influenced the creation of a town department of economic development as well as in the strategic focus of recent select boards.
In addition to reflecting on his tenure with the town, The Mountain Times asked Webb what plans/projects he would most like to see completed in the next five years. He said, “I’d like to see continued economic growth in the summer and fall seasons as we’ve seen over the past six years; I’d like to see Killington Road become more pedestrian-friendly, with crosswalks and bus stops and a sidewalk that connects to the resort; I’d like to see a trail network established and growing [in the Kent Pond/Gifford Woods area]; and I’d like to see a new Fire Department built.”
Although Tusk Ventures is based in New York, Webb’s new position will be based in Vermont; he will not be leaving the area. “I love Vermont and am glad that I was able to take this opportunity without leaving,” he said.
Webb purchased a home in Woodstock earlier this year, according to Woodstock town records.