WINCHESTER - Proving that women can have it all, the Select Board just approved Town Engineer Beth Rudolph as the new acting town manager, effective Saturday, Oct. 2.

Rudolph threw her hat in the ring to replace current and outgoing town manager, Lisa Wong, and the board felt she possessed the necessary skills to succeed in the new role, at least on a temporary basis. While she takes over, the town will search for a permanent replacement for Wong who heads to South Hadley to become its new town administrator.

Rudolph began working for the town as an assistant town engineer in 2004 before replacing former town engineer Bob Conway in 2010. In her time as lead engineer for the town, she’s worked on a variety of projects with the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and health department.

“I’m very interested in applying the skills I acquired as town engineer to the acting town manager role,” she said.

Select Board member Michael Bettencourt joked that perhaps Rudolph applied for the position to get out of being the town’s traffic engineer. He also remarked, tongue-in-cheek, how he had to support her candidacy or she would have the DPW bury his driveway in snow during the winter.

On a more serious note, Bettencourt thanked Rudolph for applying and extended his appreciation and support.

The town engineer said it would be a team effort with the Assistant Town Manager Mark Twogood and Town Comptroller Stacie Ward.

Before the board made it official, member Mariano Goluboff pointed out how appointing the town manager (or in this case interim town manager) was “the most important thing this board does.” He said as a fellow engineer, he finds Rudolph to be fantastic. As a former Select Board chair, he felt she could do the job of town manager.

“She’s not just a good engineer, she can be a good town manager,” he acknowledged. “We’ll be in good hands.”

The board then unanimously approved Rudolph as the next (acting) town manager.

For some historical context, the board last appointed an acting town manager following the departure of Mel Kleckner and before the town hired Richard Howard. Town Clerk MaryEllen Lannon filled in while the town searched for a permanent replacement (who would become Howard). She served from July of 2010 until January of 2012.

Obviously, there’s no guarantee the town would need Rudolph to serve that long, but history says it could happen. It will most likely depend on how many applicants the town receives when it advertises the position. Last time, the search committee brought forward three candidates; however, they all technically dropped out (Wong was the only one to reconsider when the board reached out to her).

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