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Crosbie, Swanson tender resignations

Date: 10/24/2011

Oct. 24, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW — The exodus of Longmeadow public officials continues.

On the heels of resignations by Thomas Brunette and Gwendolyn Bruns from the School Committee this summer, Town Manager Robin Crosbie and Select Board Vice Chair Christine Swanson announced this month that they would also be leaving their posts.

Crosbie informed the Select Board on Oct. 6 that she planned to pursue new employment opportunities in the coming months in anticipation of the expiration of her current contract on June 30, 2012.

Crosbie was hired as the first town manager in the history of Longmeadow in 2005 after a Town Meeting voted to approve a new town charter that required the creation of such a position to handle the town’s administrative duties.

“I appreciate the opportunity to have served as Longmeadow’s first town manager. I want the residents to know that they have dedicated and capable town department heads and employees, and I take great pride in our high performance organization,” she said. “I hope members of the Select Board will support my efforts as I seek to transition to another management position.”

Crosbie confirmed to Reminder Publications that she plans to pursue a similar position elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Select Board Chair Mark Gold said the town is still exploring how it intends to conduct its search for a new town manager.

“We’re going to be talking to the town attorney in order to finalize the process. The charter does state some criteria for the position, but we haven’t yet agreed on the process,” he said. “We are appreciative to Robin that she let us know so far in advance because now at least we have an idea of what our timetable is.”

Swanson also recently informed the Select Board of her plans to vacate her seat.

Citing personal and business reasons, Swanson said she and her family are planning to relocate to Savannah, Ga. She relinquished her title of vice chair of the committee to fellow selectman Paul Santaniello, but stated her intentions to remain on the board for the time being.

“I would like to share with my fellow board members and the residents of Longmeadow some news. My family and I are putting our house on the market this week and we are making plans to move to Savannah, Ga., to be closer to family,” she said. “This decision did not come easily for [my husband] Mike and I but for family and work reasons it is one that we have made. We will not be leaving until our home is sold or at the end of the year, whichever comes first and I plan to continue to serve on the board until a more definitive timeline has been established.”

Swanson was a major proponent of the controversial new high school project and also serves as co-chair of the School Building Committee.

“I am saddened to not be able to see the high school project to completion but I leave the project in good hands and look forward to coming back for the opening celebration,” she said. “My children, husband and I will miss our friends and neighbors but know in today’s world of social media we will stay in contact.”

Unlike filling Crosbie’s position, the town does not have much time to fill Swanson’s seat, according to Gold.

“When a member [of the Select Board] resigns, there are specific things that have to happen. There has to be a special town election that must be set in a specific amount of time,” he said. “I don’t know specifically what that is at this time, but my sense and understanding is that it must be voted upon within 60 days.

“Unlike with open School Committee seats where the Select Board and the School Committee appoint someone until the annual town election, whoever the town votes for to fill [Swanson’s] seat on the Select Board will serve until that term is expires in 2013,” he added.

It has been a year of extreme turnover for Longmeadow town government. In February, former Selectman Robert Barkett, who also serves as Swanson’s co-chair on the School Building Committee announced he would not run for reelection to the Select Board, stating his intentions to focus all his attention on the high school project. Marie Angelides won his seat in an uncontested race.

Brunette announced his resignation from the School Committee in June, citing work and personal responsibilities. Two months later, Bruns also resigned due to her husband’s relocation to Vermont. The Select Board and School Committee jointly elected to appoint James Desrochers and Owen Humphries to their positions, respectively, until the June 2012 town elections.

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