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John Vosburgh, left, incoming superintendent, School Committee Chairman Paul Butler and retiring Town Administrator Mark Webber at Tuesday's Selectmen's meeting.

Cheshire Town Administrator Planning to Retire Next Year

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Mark Webber, who has been the town administrator for nearly 10 years, is to retire next year.
"I'm going to leave at some point yet to be determined," Webber said at Tuesday's Selectmen's meeting. "I'm old."
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi announced Monday night at town meeting that Webber planned to retire and pointed out that the town administrator salary line item had been increased from $20,910 to $40,000 for fiscal 2019.
The Selectmen plan to hire a part-time town administrator to replace Webber but increased the salary to attract a candidate who would work more than the one day that he does.
"We did this in advance of in anticipation of a transition," Francesconi said. "He may not go until May of next year."
Webber will continue to be in town one day a week. 
Webber could not recall exactly when started with Cheshire but noted he left and came back and collectively probably has around 10 years total with the town.
Town Clerk Christine Emerson recalled he was first hired in the early 2000s, left in 2010 and returned in 2012.
Francesconi said the town has yet to outline a hiring process but will most likely do what it has done in the past.
"We haven't really looked into it yet but when we looked for our current town administrator, we advertised and we did job interviews," she said.
In other business, the Selectmen met with John Vosburgh, incoming Adams-Cheshire Regional School District superintendent, who said he is currently transitioning into the position that he will officially start at the beginning of the fiscal year
"I am trying to meet with as many people as I can and tour the schools," the Taconic High School principal said. "I am just trying to get around to as many places as I can so on July 2, it will still be a steep learning curb, it won't be as daunting of a task … I am learning a lot an am looking forward to it."
The School Committee voted to hire Vosburgh in April to replace current Robert Putnam, who is retiring June 30.
Vosburgh went on to say he was excited to be working in a smaller community and promised to be transparent with its residents.
He acknowledged that moving from the position of principal in Pittsfield to superintendent of the two-town district is a big step but one he is prepared to make.
"I've got a lot to learn. I am going from a principal of a large high school but a principal which I don't think is bad thing … but it is still big jump," he said. "But it is one that I am prepared to make."
School Committee Chairman Paul Butler said Vosburgh will attend a superintendent training program and that he knew Vosburgh would be a good fit for the district.
"I just had a great sense about John, and I saw his demeanor and his honesty," he said. "Everything about his personality was a good fit for us so I think we have a good match."
Selectman Robert Ciskowski agreed.
"Same candidates answered their questions with words, but his answers really had meaning. He didn't dance, he didn't dodge and he didn't hide anything," he said. "I think we are going to work together just fine."
Francesconi left Vosburgh with something to remember.
"One word of advice," she said. "Don't forget about Cheshire."

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Cheshire Looks For Options For Road, Building Repairs

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

The Cheshire Selectmen discuss the long-term infrastructure challenges that the town is facing. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Entering into a budget season that seems to start earlier and earlier lately, the Board of Selectmen is taking a hard look at the town's infrastructure. The majority of Tuesday night's meeting was spent discussing potential options for maintaining and improving the town's buildings and roads.
Selectwoman Michelle Francesconi raised the issue of the fire station, which recently had its roof repaired but is now experiencing some heating issues.
"The Fire Department heating system ... is actually the boiler from the State Police barracks when it was on Dalton Avenue. So it's not new obviously. I don't even remember the State Police barracks on Dalton Avenue," she said.
The board estimated the boiler to be at least 30-35 years old. Chairman Robert Ciskowski puts it at closer to 40.
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