Nunez Hired By Fairlee

  • Tad Nunez answers a question during a meeting at Hartford Town Hall in White River Junction, Vt., on June 30, 2016. (Valley News - Mac Snyder) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, January 05, 2018

Fairlee — A former longtime Hartford parks and recreation director will return to municipal government on Monday, when he starts work as Fairlee’s new town administrator.

Tad Nunez, a 61-year-old Lebanon resident, is set to begin his new job with a busy schedule. On Monday, the Fairlee Selectboard has planned meetings to discuss its budget and next steps for the town’s water system.

“This is really a key moment,” Fairlee’s Selectboard Chairwoman Cathy McGrath said.

Nunez will fill a vacancy left when Norwich resident Laura Zubryd departed after serving just a few weeks as Fairlee’s administrator this fall. McGrath said Zubryd “left for other opportunities” because the job “wasn’t the right fit for her.”

Zubryd replaced Brian Hanson, who resigned in August to move to South Carolina. Hanson had held the position since 2015.

“We’re thrilled,” McGrath said of Nunez’s imminent arrival. “We’ve been limping around without a town administrator.”

Nunez, who left Hartford in June after 29 years of employment there, said in an email on Friday he was “right out straight” and he did not respond to a subsequent email or phone calls requesting comment by deadline. In Hartford, Nunez was replaced by Scott Hausler, who previously had served as assistant director of parks and recreation.

Friday was Nunez’s last day as executive director of the Lebanon-based City Center Ballet, where he has been working in recent months, according to a Thursday email Nunez sent to colleagues and friends. The organization is seeking a new executive director.

The job change is “due to family needs/circumstances” that require that he return to full-time work, Nunez said in the Thursday email.

Nunez’s wife, Bette, teaches kindergarten in Thetford, according to a post on Fairlee’s town website.

Because Nunez and the Selectboard had yet to ink his contract, McGrath said, his salary information was not yet public information. She did, however, indicate that it would be below the roughly $87,000 he was making as parks and recreation director.

“I know he’s taken quite a cut in salary since his position in Hartford,” she said.

A classified advertisement for the Fairlee job in the Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ January newsletter said the salary range was “around $46,000.”

The Fairlee Selectboard chose Nunez from a group of eight or nine applicants and four finalists, McGrath said. He stood out from the crowd for his experience in municipal governance and past relationships with entities such as Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and the Vermont Agency of Transportation, McGrath said.

Because the town has deferred maintenance in several areas, McGrath said, she was glad that Nunez had experience in public works from overseeing the opening of Hartford’s Maxfield Sports Complex on Route 5 and a renovation of the Wendell A. Barwood Arena.

In addition, McGrath said Nunez seems like he will mesh well with the other members of the town’s staff, with whom he will be sharing office space for the next several weeks as renovations of Fairlee’s town hall are completed.

He “seemed to understand their skill and experience,” she said.

In Fairlee, Nunez will be responsible for advancing the Selectboard’s policies, McGrath said. In addition, she said, Nunez and Town Clerk Georgette Wolf-Ludwig “will really be the faces of the community.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.