Following a lengthy hiring process, Michelle L. Pong of West Chesterfield, NH has been hired for the new position of Vernon Town Administrator.
The Selectboard voted unanimously to make the appointment at its regular meeting on May 2.
Pong has been program director of the Lead Safe & Healthy Homes program of the Parks Place Community Resource Center in Bellows Fall, VT. She grew up in Brattleboro and is a graduate of Keene State College. She worked as a broadcast journalist and as a public relations specialist before joining Parks Place in 2007. She is certified as a Lead Inspector/Risk Assessor, and is an instructor for state and federal lead certification training. She is married to Christopher Pong; they have a daughter, Caroline, and two dogs.
The Town Meeting of March 2, 2015 initially authorized creation of the position by passing a budget which contained $50,000 for the position of an “Administrative Assistant”, along with benefits costing about $21,000. A motion to remove funding from that budget was defeated at that meeting.
Subsequently, the terminology changed to “Town Administrator” and a Town Administrator Search Committee was appointed, consisting of Michael Courtemanche, Emily Vergobbe, Dale Gassett, Ellen Merkle and Tim Arsenault. Courtemanche became chair of the committee, but subsequently resigned. His position was replaced by Josh Unruh. Tom Guerino served as an advisor to the committee.
The Search Committee advertised the position, reviewed numerous resumes, interviewed candidates, and recommended finalists to the Selectboard which conducted the final interviews in recent months before selecting Pong.
Pong is expected to begin work in early June.