WEST BRIDGEWATER — Over the past two decades, selectmen came and went, but Beth Faricy was always there to ease the transition for new board members.
Now Faricy is helping to ease the transition for her successor, after serving as West Bridgewater’s town administrator for the past 21 years.
Faricy’s last official day of work was Wednesday, but in keeping with her well-established work ethic, she will be spending time with the new administrator, David Gagne of Plainville, after her vacation to help him learn the ropes, including pointing out which drawer holds the pencils.
“I will be back off and on after July 8 to brief David on the myriad of projects, events, issues, and files he must be familiar with for West Bridgewater to continue to run as well as it has these past years,” said Faricy.
The town administrator or manager’s position is an extremely demanding one in municipal government, with contracts that must be reviewed and renewed and an ever-changing cast of characters voting on those contracts. How did Faricy last so long?
“By being willing and able to work with all sorts of people on any project that the selectmen deemed would advance the good standing of the town,” said Faricy, a resident of North Smithfield, R.I.
In a small town such as West Bridgewater, that includes being willing to tackle the mundane jobs of processing bills, preparing budgets for the new fiscal year, handling personnel matters as they arise, and scheduling “a zillion” meetings a year between and among departments and department heads whenever a project was about to come into town.
Faricy said she will most miss the day-to-day work of helping members of the community and working with department heads who were focused on improving the town.
In May, her co-workers threw a well-attended retirement party for her at the Charlie Horse Restaurant.
Gagne, who was appointed by selectmen in April, had been working as an assistant to the town administrators in Plainville and Dartmouth. He was selected from a pool of 50 candidates that was reduced to 10 after interviews conducted by the five-member search committee, which then presented the three finalists to selectmen.
Gagne said he has big shoes to fill and his number one goal will be to make sure he continues to provide what Faricy brought to the table during her tenure.
“While it will be difficult to replace our experienced and very effective town administrator, Beth Faricy, we are confident that David will utilize his varied training and experience to be a successful town administrator for our town,” said Nancy Maloney, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen at the time of Gagne’s appointment.
Faricy was asked whether she had any advice for her successor to ensure his long-term success.
“No two days are alike, and each brings with it its own set of crises,” she said. “But as you move through the day, problems are resolved and progress is made.”
Rich Fahey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.