By Lee J. Kahrs
PROCTOR — It’s hard to find a silver lining during a pandemic, but Greg Maggard did. Proctor’s new town manager has been trying to get back to Vermont with his family since he left two years ago, and finally found a way.
Maggard comes to Proctor via Virginia, where he took a public works job in Colonial Beach. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Maggard was the town manager in Bethel, Vermont. He left in July 2019 to take the Virginia position.
“I really wanted to come back to Vermont,” Maggard, 46, said in a phone interview.
Maggard’s wife, Kristi, is originally from Monkton, and the couple have two children, a daughter, who is in medical school, and a son, Grady, who is 15.
Maggard said his wife and son both have health challenges that made them want to look for a warmer climate and good access to health care, which is why they moved to Virginia. But then the Covid-19 pandemic hit in mid-March, and Maggard was laid off not long after.
“I saw the writing on the wall, but I was already looking for a new position,” he said. Vermont offers a proximity to Dartmouth Medical Center and the University of Vermont Medical Center for his family’s medical needs.
Originally from Oklahoma, Maggard, has worked in town government for almost 20 years, including time as a town administrator in Shattuck, Oklahoma, and as the public works director in Buena Vista, Colorado. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public administration from Colorado State University.
The Proctor Select Board approved Maggard’s contract at a regular meeting Monday night, June 8, with an annual salary of $70,000.
“It is a bit of a pay cut for me,” Maggard acknowledged, “but I really like the area.”
The town began the search for a new town manager in mid-February and advertised the job with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. A committee made of Proctor Select Board members Ben Curtis and Judy Frazier and community members conducted the search and interviewed candidates. Curtis said the committee narrowed the search down to three candidates before making Maggard an offer.
“It was a very hard decision, but it was the consensus of the board with Greg’s experience, he’d do a great job for us,” Curtis said.
Curtis added that the pandemic really made the candidate search difficult.
“We literally started interviewing when the pandemic hit,” he said. “It was the worst possible time to hold candidate interviews.”
Stan Wilbur, 80, will be leaving his post at the end of the month. Wilbur was officially hired as town manager in March 2012 at a salary of $52,000. His current salary is $68,157. He began working for the town of Proctor as an interim town administrator during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. A retired civil engineer, Wilbur was filling in as interim town administrator and was asked to continue in the position, then was hired as the town manager when the town switched its form of governance from a town administrator to a town manager.
A retired civil engineer, Wilbur retires from his Proctor position with 40 years of experience in facilities planning and design and construction engineering for state and town highway, water supply, wastewater treatment and other public works projects. He has served as chair of the Tinmouth Select Board, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns Transportation Committee, and the Tinmouth Board of Civil Authority. He has also served as the town moderator in Shelburne.
Wilbur’s last day is June 30. Maggard starts his new job on June 15.
“I’ll get a chance to follow Stan around and learn from him after a couple of weeks of training,” Maggard said.
As for finding his dream job in an unprecedented pandemic, Maggard is just grateful. “I’m just happy I’ve got a job and I think we’ll be in a good situation,” he said. “I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot of people don’t have that right now.”