Town hires new public works director (10/8/09)

Bruce Hoar held same post in South Burlington

Oct. 8, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

The town of Williston has opted for local talent this time to lead a key department.


Bruce Hoar

Town Manager Rick McGuire on Monday announced that Bruce Hoar was picked as Williston’s new public works director. Hoar will replace Neil Boyden, who is retiring after 24 years with the town.

Hoar is currently the public works director in South Burlington, a post he has held since 1996. McGuire said Hoar’s extensive experience and familiarity with Williston gave him an edge over other candidates.

“He has fairly lengthy experience as a director of public works in a nearby community,” McGuire said. “And a community that in some ways is similar to Williston and in some ways different.”

That difference could bring a fresh perspective, McGuire said, perhaps helping the town deal with issues — like state stormwater regulation — that South Burlington has already faced.

Hoar will be paid $72,500 per year. His employment offer provides three weeks of annual vacation and a $4,800 yearly vehicle allowance.

Two of the last three department leaders hired by the town of Williston — former Town Planner Lee Nellis and his successor, Ken Belliveau – came from outside Vermont. The other, Police Chief Jim Dimmick, was a retired member of the Vermont State Police before he was hired, first as an interim replacement and then as a permanent employee.

Hoar, 49, lives in Richmond. He and his wife, Alyson, have two sons, one a student at the University of Vermont and another who attends Camels Hump Middle School.

Hoar said he was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pa. He lived there until age 17, when he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. His duties eventually brought him to Vermont when he was stationed in Burlington, working as a navigation supervisor on Lake Champlain from 1984-87.

After his full-time enlistment ended, Hoar worked at Shelburne Shipyard and attended Vermont Technical College, where he received an associate’s degree in civil engineering. He also completed coursework in transportation engineering at the University of Vermont.

Hoar went on to work for the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Williston-based ST Griswold & Company before being hired by the city of South Burlington.

Hoar said the job in Williston appealed to him because it is a growing community with a sense of direction.

“I’ve always liked Williston,” he said. “I like the way planning has been done and all the stuff going on at Maple Tree Place, and yet the town still preserves rural areas.”

Hoar declined to detail why he decided to quit his South Burlington job, saying only that he was “not leaving here with any animosity.” He did acknowledge that the pending departure of City Manager Charles Hafter “weighed a little” in his decision.

The public works director is one of the most important positions in Williston’s municipal government. The department has more than a dozen employees and a $3.5 million annual budget. It oversees essential services and infrastructure, including road maintenance, snowplowing and water and sewer.

Boyden announced in July that he was stepping down. The town received 36 applications for the position.

A five-member hiring committee comprised of town officials reviewed the applications and selected six candidates to be interviewed. The list was winnowed to two finalists, who were then interviewed again before McGuire made the final decision.

McGuire said Hoar will officially start work on Nov. 30. Boyden’s resignation is effective Oct. 31, but McGuire said Boyden has agreed to work part-time through the month of November to fill in the gap.