Special for the Civic Association News: Dian Vujovich
It’s no secret that Palm Beachers know more about town manager Peter Elwell, now that he’s retiring from his post in January, than ever before.
Inundated with calls from local and Vermont media, Elwell told me a few things you haven’t read elsewhere. For openers, he’s a shy kind of guy who is not accustomed to all the attention he’s been getting.
“I’ve talked more about myself in the last 10 days than I did in the last 10 years,” says the 52-year old. “And I really am sincere in saying I actually much prefer talking about the town, the challenges we face, what actions we are taking, and doing my job to helping form the community than I do interviews about me.”
While he understands that he has played an important role as Palm Beach town manager for 14 years, and that the decision to retire and then take on the same position in his hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont, is newsworthy, answering the same questions over and over was a new -- and revealing -- experience.
So, given that word has been out for a while about Mr. Elwell’s career change, and that the world has learned of his salary here, how much he will earn as the town manager of Brattleboro, and the bounty of his pension thanks to years of public service, what else is there to learn?
How about this: Mr. Elwell is not a skier.
Imagine, a guy raised in ski country who is not a fan of schussing or cross-country skiing? The latter, he said, both he and his wife, Wendy, are likely to try.
In addition to the career opportunity, the appeal of living in Vermont for the Elwells is the same one that draws visitors to the Green Mountain State throughout the year: The four seasons.
And as any Vermonter will tell you, they include summer, fall, winter and mud season.
When this well-respected town manager is asked what he will miss most about Palm Beach, he says, , “I know exactly what I will miss the most: the intense engagement with so many interesting and committed people who are trying to make the town better.”
Explaining that the issues the town has faced have been challenging at times and “sometimes harder at times than at other times,” he says that those challenges have also been rewarding.
“It’s when the work is the hardest that the outcomes are the most satisfying,” Mr. Elwell says, noting that when there are strong disputes and feelings being expressed, it’s because everyone is trying to do what’s right -- and best -- for Palm Beach.
Palm Beach has been fortunate to have Mr. Elwell as its town manager and Brattleboro is lucky to have him coming onboard next year.
We wish him much luck and success in his new position, and wouldn’t be surprised to see him visiting Palm Beach during one of Vermont’s mud seasons.