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Bristol announces new town administrator

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By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — Bill Bryant of Burlington will take the reins as town administrator for the town of Bristol in July. He will be replacing Bob Hall, who announced his retirement at the beginning of last November.

Bryant, 49, is currently the town administrator of Waitsfield, where he has worked for 17 years. During that time he also worked as a part-time administrator in East Montpelier.

“We’re excited, we think he’ll work out real well,” said Selectman David Sharpe. “I got good feedback on Bryant and I got good reviews.”

Bryant’s first day will officially be July 10. However, to get ready for the job, he plans to come to Bristol about once a week in June and learn a little about how the town office does businesses.

Bryant is originally from Michigan, but he has lived in Vermont since he was in his 20s. His resume includes has a lot of experience with local government, but he said that is actually less important for his job than for other town offices. A town administrator’s job can vary greatly from one town to the next, he said.

“I think that the most important stuff is getting to know the lay of the town,” Bryant said. “Every town has its different ways of doing things, and just getting acquainted with Bristol will be my first job.”

For example, Bristol’s fiscal year starts July 1, less than two weeks before Bryant’s official start. “I’ll be implementing a budget written by other folks,” he said.

Bryant has appreciated the Bristol community since he first became familiar with it while working as assistant town manager in Middlebury in the ’80s. “One of the things that attracts me is that Bristol still has a working landscape,” Bryant said.

The search for a new administrator went better than expected. “We were not at all confident that we would have someone in place by August,” Sharpe said.

So at one point Hall and the selectboard thought they would not be ready for his retirement until later in the year, but now he will retire earlier than he originally planned, which was to be late this year.

Hall, 70, has been town administrator in Bristol for a decade. He is looking forward to retirement and said that given Bryant’s experience, the town should be in good hands.

“He’ll bring a lot of experience in management,” Hall said. “From what I gather, he’ll do great.”

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