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Bethel Town Manager Retires After 26 Years

Bethel — Town Manager Delbert “Del” Cloud will retire at the end of the month after 26 years on the job, and the Selectboard hopes to have a replacement hired by Town Meeting, an official said this week.

Selectboard Chairman Bill Hall said the board has contracted with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to perform the search for the position. The hire will be voted on by the board.

In the meantime, the board is preparing to hire an interim town manager on a part-time basis to “work with the Selectboard during this process and make sure everything runs smoothly going forward,” Hall said.

He noted that members have served relatively short tenures; Hall is in his second year, Carl Russell was elected in March and Lisa Hill was just recently appointed.

Hall said the board was aware Cloud had been weighing retirement — in fact, Cloud had talked about stepping down prior to Tropical Storm Irene more than two years ago. But once the storm struck, causing millions of dollars of damage in Bethel alone, Hall said that Cloud felt “he couldn’t leave (until he was) comfortable that he felt that things from Irene were resolved.”

“We especially appreciate the fact that even though he may have wanted to retire sooner, he stayed in there until he got Irene taken care of,” Hall said.

In a profile of the Bethel native published in the Randolph Herald this month, Cloud said he’s been “driven by recovery work, but now that’s almost done.

“I didn’t want to leave loose ends,” he said. “My kids are fairly established in life, and I have other activities that I need time and good health to pursue.”

Cloud did not respond to requests for comment this week.

Hall, who grew up in Woodstock and has lived in town for 25 years, said it was “easy to work with (Cloud)” because he understood the roles and responsibilities of his position and of the Selectboard.

“One of the things that I have to say about Delbert, he really knew a lot of what was going on in town and spent an awful lot of time trying to find the best way to move forward,” Hall said. “(T)he way he approached the position I think was really admirable. He accomplished a whole lot in his time here.”

Hall said the board does not anticipate any significant changes in how much the town manager’s salary, although it was unclear how much Cloud has been making as his salary is drawn from several areas in the budget and he also serves as tax collector, road commissioner, water superintendent, zoning administrator, cemetery commissioner and emergency operations coordinator.

Assistant Town Manager Abbie Sherman did not respond to a request seeking the Town Manager’s salary.

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.