Wells chosen for town manager

In two and a half years, Erik Wells has advanced from assistant to the town manager to assistant town manager and now to town manager.

Wells has accepted an offer from the Williston Selectboard to succeed Rick McGuire as Williston’s top town administrator. McGuire plans to retire in early August after 22 years as town manager. The board’s offer is conditional on a background check and negotiation of an employment contract.

“It is with a great deal of excitement and gratitude that I have accepted the conditional offer of employment to serve as Williston’s town manager,” Wells said.” I look forward to working with members of the town staff, town officials and the residents of Williston. It is a great community to be a part of.”

The board conducted a national search with the help of a New Hampshire-based contractor that yielded more than 30 candidates. The pool was whittled to five finalists — four from Vermont who were interviewed at the town offices in June and one from Colorado who was interviewed remotely. Three were invited back for second interviews.

Wells applied for the position when it was first advertised over the winter, after McGuire announced plans to retire. McGuire had hoped to retire at the end of June, but the board decided to extend the recruitment process due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wells came to Williston in 2017 from Milton, where he was the director of administration and community affairs. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from St. Michael’s College and a master’s in public administration from the University of Vermont.

Selectboard chair Terry Macaig described Wells as a comforting presence who has proven himself to be a good written and verbal communicator.

“I believe Mr. Wells has the skills, experience and personal qualities that will serve the town well,” Macaig said. “We are looking forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

Macaig said the town is unlikely to fill Well’s assistant manager position anytime soon.

“I don’t expect to fill that until we know where we are at budget-wise,” he said. “My guess is that position will remain vacant for a while.”