Town Manager

Town of Hanover, NH | Full-time

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The Position

The Town of Hanover presents an excellent opportunity for someone who loves local government and wants to lead in a town where residents, businesses, students, and Dartmouth College all appreciate the Town and want it to continue to be an exceptional place to live and learn. The Town Manager serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Town and reports directly to the five-member Selectboard. The Town Manager oversees day-to-day operations, manages all departments, prepares the agenda and policy recommendations for consideration by the Selectboard, and ensures that all Town operations respond to the needs of local citizens as effectively as possible.

The Town Manager oversees 11 direct reports, including the Administrative Assistant, Administrative Services Director, Assessing Director, Fire Chief, Howe Library Director, Human Resources Director, IT Director, Parks and Recreation Director, Planning, Zoning, and Codes Director, Police Chief, and Public Works Director. The position will be open when the Town Manager retires in the spring of 2022, after over 25 years of outstanding service to the Town of Hanover. The Town has a tradition and values its civil and solid political leadership with a Selectboard focused on high-level issues, residents and businesses who want to participate in solving problems and bring resources and expertise to the table, and where innovation and creativity are possible.

Priorities

The Selectboard has identified the following priorities as some of the top priorities for the Town:

  • Sustainable Master Planning Process
  • Post-Covid recovery for the Town and continued downtown vibrancy
  • Develop a technology needs assessment for the Town in concert with department directors
  • Engage with regional partners and state initiatives that support housing affordability, renewable energy, and climate change resiliency
  • Prepare the Town to utilize federal resources for infrastructure and broadband

The Selectboard’s priorities are in sync with a recent community input survey where community members identified the following five priorities for the next Town Manager:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Economic and Business Development
  • Budget and Financial Sustainability
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Sustainability

The Successful Candidate

The ideal candidate for Hanover's next Town Manager will be an ethical and experienced local government management professional passionate about leading a collaborative, engaged staff team working toward common goals with the Selectboard and the community. The Town Manager will be an effective listener and communicator, comfortable speaking with all audiences and using various tools to reach residents, businesses, and Dartmouth College. The Town Manager will be an approachable leader with a track record of utilizing great ideas generated from robust community engagement and skilled at building partnerships with government, educational, private, and nonprofit organizations. The ideal candidate will be a strong, confident leader who can balance conflicting interests and priorities and build consensus with the Selectboard, staff, College, and the community. The next Town Manager will be an effective leader, comfortable empowering staff to be creative problem-solvers to ensure the long-term success of the Town.

The next Town Manager will be both a visionary and able to translate that vision into an actionable plan to implement and make progress on the most challenging issues local governments face. The Town Manager will be technologically and politically savvy and embrace the community's expectation for innovation and creative approaches to complex community issues, such as workforce housing affordability, climate change resiliency, and downtown and business vibrancy. In addition, the Town Manager will be responsive and accessible yet stay focused on the top priorities for the Town and say no when necessary. The ideal candidate will fit into a caring, progressive, fiscally conscious culture focused on a sustainable future. Hanover's next Town Manager will have proven planning and zoning experience and be able to work with partners in the business and nonprofit communities, as well as the College, to ensure the continued vitality of the downtown and the College, as well as retain the high quality of life for residents. The next Town Manager will partner with K-12 and higher education institutions and nonprofits to focus on workforce and pandemic recovery and chart the future for the Town's continued vitality. The successful candidate will be energetic, personally invested in Hanover, and active and visible in the community. The Town Manager will work to bring the residents, businesses, students, college, and other key stakeholders together and find common ground on quality of life issues that impact all of Hanover.

Based on a recent survey, community members think the next Town Manager should:

  • Be Accountable (34.82%,)
  • Be Ethical/Moral (33.04%)
  • Be an Active Listener (32.14%)
  • Value Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (31.03%)
  • Be Accessible (29.02%)

Qualifications

Minimum requirements are a bachelor's degree and at least seven years' progressively responsible experience in a local government, including supervision and executive level management (manager/administrator, assistant manager/administrator, or department director). Strong communication skills and demonstrated expertise with community engagement, budget/financial management, and collaboration with key stakeholders are required.

Preferred qualifications include tenure in a full-service local government, with demonstrated experience in land use, sustainability, downtown and business vibrancy, and housing affordability. Experience managing a high-performing staff and collaborating with a college, medical center, and/or other large institutions is also preferred. A master’s degree in public administration and ICMA-CM are also preferred.

While not required, it is hoped that the next Town Manager will choose to live within the community.

Inside The Town of Hanover

The Town has operated under a charter since 1963 and amended the charter to enable a Selectboard-Town Manager form of local government in 1973. The Hanover Selectboard consists of five members elected to staggered three-year terms. The Board holds some legislative powers not typically granted to Town Selectboards in New Hampshire. Town Meetings serve as the legislative body for adopting the annual budget, issuing bonds, and amendments of the Zoning Ordinance.

The Hanover Selectboard has a reputation for being very stable, non-partisan, and professional, working exceptionally well together as a group and providing quiet, thoughtful, forward-looking leadership for the community. The Town Manager is appointed for an indefinite term and is responsible for the administrative and financial affairs of the Town and implementing policies adopted by the Hanover Selectboard. The Town Manager serves at the pleasure of the Hanover Selectboard and is the Chief Administrative Official of the Town.

Hanover is a quintessential "college" town and functions much like a city in town clothing based on the service demands placed upon it by a prestigious Ivy League institution. The Town has experienced moderate tax base growth of more than 15% in the past ten years, attributable primarily to the expansion of Dartmouth College dormitories and dining halls (which are taxable). The annual growth in new construction (brick and mortar) is between .75% and 1.5%. It is expected that Dartmouth College will be undertaking an aggressive housing initiative that could boost those numbers. The Town of Hanover is a full-service community, providing police and fire protection with full-time departments, a full range of public works services, water filtration, secondary wastewater treatment, two public libraries, recreation services, and a full range of administrative services.

The Town operates on a fiscal year basis, July 1 through June 30. The budget process begins in November of each year when the Hanover Selectboard sets a property tax rate target for use by Town staff in building the proposed budget. Department budget requests are submitted to the Town Manager, who then works with staff to develop a proposed budget reviewed by the Hanover Selectboard in three public hearings held in late February and early March. The Board adopts the budget and then brings it to the Town Meeting for approval in early May for July 1 implementation.

The Town of Hanover is in a very financially sound position, despite a worldwide pandemic and the impact it has had on New Hampshire municipalities. In general, fund balances all meet or exceed the 10% target set by the Hanover Selectboard, capital reserves are managed carefully to ensure that the Town is setting aside sufficient funds for future capital purchases, the Town's bonding capacity far exceeds its very modest outstanding debt, and the various department operating budgets, while managed very carefully, are sufficiently funded. Given New Hampshire's dependence on property tax, local municipal managers must focus very clearly on managing the local property tax burden, which is the primary source of revenue for municipalities. Hanover is all about managing carefully and as frugally as possible and is continually looking at ways to control costs and implement innovative service delivery.

Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center exert a stabilizing influence on the local economy in that both institutions have been somewhat insulated from the impact of economic downturns. As a result of the pandemic, Town staff managed reductions in some revenue areas by freezing a small handful of vacant positions and throttling back expenditures to focus on essential purchases and projects with room to spare. Because of the institutional influences, overall property values have remained steady, with more rapid increases evident due to COVID. There is an upward pressure to increasing values due not only to those desiring a safer environment but also to climate change affecting other areas of the country. This area has historically been absent of those types of negative influences. A comprehensive revaluation was completed for all commercial and residential properties in 2021. The overall increase was about 16%. Approximately 25% of the tax base is from commercial/income producing type properties, and 75% is residential in nature. Residents have supported modest tax rate increases each year to maintain service levels. Hanover residents support a well-run local government, and the Town's operating departments enjoy good support from the Hanover Selectboard and the voters.

The Community

Hanover is a scenic, upscale New England community located in west-central New Hampshire on the Vermont border. Nestled along the beautiful Connecticut River, the Town is home to Dartmouth College.

Hanover is centrally located in northern New England, an area offering the best that New England has to offer. Many residents have made a conscious decision to settle in Hanover because of the region's high quality of life – beautiful countryside, ample recreational opportunities, excellent public schools, a college town feel, a safe place to live and to raise children, cultural and intellectual richness, sophisticated but casual and unassuming, and within easy driving distance of key Northeast metropolitan centers. The community was recently named one of the top ten places to live and retire by Money magazine. Boston, MA is just two hours to the southeast; New York City five hours to the southwest; Quebec City four hours north; and Montreal three hours northwest. The beautiful White Mountains are less than an hour’s drive to the north, and the beaches of New Hampshire and Maine are less than two hours due east.

The Town of Hanover is located in Grafton County in west-central New Hampshire. The Town has a population of 11,500 and occupies 50.3 square miles. State routes 10 and 120 bisect the Town; both I-89 connecting Boston, MA to Burlington, VT and I-91 connecting southern Connecticut to Canada border the Town and are immediately accessible. Hanover's landscape is characterized by hillsides and valleys, granite ledges, farm fields, brooks, and streams. The Town consists of a largely rural landscape beyond the immediate downtown and in-town residential areas. Served by 164 miles of paved and gravel roads, many residents enjoy the rural tranquility to be found just beyond the downtown area. Deer, moose, bear, wild turkey, red fox, coyotes, hawks, and eagles abound, and residents of this community happily live in close harmony with wildlife.

The Town of Hanover offers a great deal to attract people on a personal level, starting with Dartmouth College. The College is an intellectual and cultural center. Its Hopkins Center and Hood Museum offer wonderful theater, music, and art opportunities for local residents and the area's many visitors. Dartmouth lectures, symposia, and workshops are regularly open to the public. Dartmouth College sports teams attract a loyal following of local residents. Dartmouth students are active community members, volunteering in the local schools, the Town's Recreation Department, and a host of local social service agencies.

For the outdoor lover, Hanover is a New England paradise. There are ample opportunities for rowing and boating on a beautiful, flood-controlled stretch of the Connecticut River or on nearby Goose Pond, Mascoma Lake, Crystal Lake, Grafton Pond, or Lake Sunapee. For snow sports lovers, the Dartmouth Skiway is located just 15 minutes away in the adjacent Town of Lyme, while truly first-class New England skiing and snowboarding can be found less than 45 minutes by car in all directions. Hiking, mountain bike, and snowmobile trails dot the landscape, the Appalachian Trail bisects the community on its way to Maine, and there are a plethora of parks and recreational centers in the area as well. Joggers and bicyclists share the road in large numbers. Organized sports teams for adults and youth are plentiful, ranging from low-key clubs to highly competitive teams. Fishing, camping, rock climbing, and rowing are all popular activities. Local farms dot the landscape, and residents enjoy buying and eating locally grown and produced food. Healthy living is the name of the game, and the region makes it easy to stay active and well.

Hanover's residents are warm, friendly, and down-to-earth. The community is small enough to provide that small-town feel but not so small that it feels insular. The general movement in and out of faculty and staff associated with the region's two largest employers, Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, helps to maintain a sense of openness in the community and the institutions' strong international connections make for a highly multicultural population. Many of the Town's citizens are associated with the College or Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and are highly educated. They believe in excellence in all they do, and they are willing to achieve it. In turn, Hanover residents expect high-quality service and recognize Hanover staff for their expertise and community commitment.

Hanover housing costs are on the higher end, although less expensive housing can be found in some outlying communities. A smaller three-bedroom/two-bath home starts in the $500,000 price range, depending on location and amenities, and a selection of higher-cost housing is available as well.

Due to the strong influence of highly educated people in the community, schooling is a priority, and, as a result, the Hanover public school system is of the highest quality. Rankings consistently reveal that Hanover’s schools are among the best in the bi-state region.

The community is a very safe place to work and to raise a family. Crime rates are low, and community policing is a priority of the Hanover Police Department.

The primary settlement in Hanover is defined as in-town Hanover which includes the Downtown area, the Dartmouth College campus, and the many neighborhoods surrounding the campus. Hanover borders the towns of Lyme, Canaan, and Enfield, and Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Norwich, Vermont. Hanover also includes the small rural villages of Etna and Hanover Center, which were formerly independent villages to the east and north of the in-town area. The highest point in Hanover is the north peak of Moose Mountain, standing at 2,313 feet above sea level. Hanover lies entirely within the Connecticut River watershed.

Granted in 1761, the Town was named for Hanover Parish, the home parish of settlers from Lisbon, Connecticut. In 1769, Reverend Eleazar Wheelock received a charter for a college to educate Native Americans, an expansion of the Charity School he had established in Connecticut. The College was named for William Legge, Second Earl of Dartmouth, a supporter of the Reverend's efforts. In 1771, Governor John Wentworth, upon petition from Reverend Wheelock, chartered 300 acres between Hanover and Lebanon for Dartmouth College. The land chartered to the College was for a time known as Dresden, one of 16 towns involved in a border dispute with Vermont. Today, the name Dresden is that of the local school district, a bi-state district involving towns from both sides of the Connecticut River, Norwich, Vermont, and the Town of Hanover.

Compensation and Benefits

The expected hiring range is $150,000 – $175,000, depending on qualifications, with excellent benefits. A relocation package that may include relocation and housing assistance and other amenities may also be part of total compensation in an employment agreement. The Town participates in the state retirement system. The Town Manager may participate in that or negotiate a different retirement option in lieu of this, such as ICMA-RC.

The Town’s “flex benefits” are excellent. They include health, dental, and prescription plans, short and long-term disability, life insurance, plus supplemental coverage options. Most candidates will find the benefits package comprehensive and generous by public sector standards.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. We will commence review of applications on February 16, 2022. 

Questions

Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at ctuckparrish@raftelis.com and Carly Trimboli at ctrimboli@raftelis.com.

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