WILLIAMSTOWN – Peter Fohlin, who has served as town manager here for nearly 15 years, has announced that he will retire April 26. He made known his intent in a letter to the Selectboard during Monday’s meeting. [Iberkshires.com 1/14/2015]
For our new town manager, I’d like to see someone who values a small town, someone who understands how to gently cultivate a true, lasting sense of place, who has lived in small college towns and who invites idiosyncrasy. I’d like to see someone who walks and rides a bicycle around town and who hikes and skis in our forests. Give us a town manager who values pedestrian ways above car traffic, who boldly creates a pedestrian-centric Spring Street and Water Street, reserved as inviting, traditional plazas—the heart of the town — for daily communing and special town events. Find us a new town manager who will invite the creation of small, manageable living spaces walkable to downtown, rather than allowing the deforestation of our hillsides to build mcmansions. Find someone who will help sustain locally owned businesses such as Lickety Split, Images, and Cricket Creek Farm, and who guards against overscaled, urbanized development and the facelessness of chain stores.
I ask that our new town manager be someone who, like First Nations, takes the well being of nine future generations into account and who can lead us to becoming a “net zero” town, in which the amount of energy we can cleanly create equals the amount of energy we use. I invite our new town manager to help develop neighborhood composting systems in conjunction with pocket gardens and orchards so that our organic matter is returned cyclically to the soil with the recognition that it is a vital resource, rather than transporting it elsewhere, to an impoverished community where it is trapped as toxic landfill. I seek a town manager to halt pesticide and herbicide use (including Round Up) and substitute gravel and sand for road salts, so we won’t be corroding vehicles, irritating paws, altering the salinity of ground water, and accelerating the die off of our neighborhood trees.
I ask that our town manager cut down the use, within our town limits, of packaging made from plastics and styrofoam that litter our woods and byways. I seek a town manager who will manage the size and mowing/plowing schedules of our town fleet of vehicles, so that our commitments to reducing emissions can be met and exceeded and our tax rates can allow a wider variety of people to make a vibrant life in Williamstown.
I hope that our new town manager will consider these tasks as the job’s basic mission.
Thank you. I have my fingers crossed!