Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Herb Durfee, Fair Haven’s new town manager, worked in community development for 30 years in northern Vermont.
FAIR HAVEN — Only four days on the job and new Town Manager Herb Durfee is already finding it a challenge — but in a good way.
Since starting Monday, the 50-year-old Grand Isle resident has already spoken with three attorneys and has reached out to some local organizations to get the lay of the land.
“I am putting out the fires that Bill (Humphries, interim town manager) could not do,” Durfee said during an interview in his office Thursday. “I am looking at what’s on the desk that the town could not deal with in the last six months.”
Durfee replaced Peter Hathaway, who resigned from the position last year after citing an impasse with the Select Board. Humphries, who is the Fair Haven Police chief, was hired as interim town manager.
“Bill did a really good job,” Durfee said. ”Kudos to him for keeping it all afloat.”
Durfee said people around the office have been very accommodating and have even taken him on short tours to show how things work.
Durfee brings to the job 30 years of experience in community development in northern Vermont. He worked for 10 years with the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and five years as community developer with the town of Essex.
In the last couple of years, he built a consulting company that struggled when the economy crashed.
Durfee said his interests in municipal development and management motivated him to apply for the Fair Haven position. He said he had basically done everything in the job description, though some things are new.
“I have always been interested in being a town manager,” he said. “That is the next logical step.”
Community development is key and Durfee said some of things he wants to tackle include Beaver Wood, village center revitalization, the town park and more.
“Fair Haven is a small community,” he said. “It is a tight-knit community with a lot of potential. It has everything that caters to me and I think I have things to bring.”
Durfee added, “But I will clearly have to rely on the community. They know more than I do.”
He also said he is not afraid to say ‘I don’t know,’ but promises a quick turnaround once he does have the answer.
“You are going to get 110 percent out of me, to use a cliché,” Durfee said.
He suggested people just stop in, if they want to get to know him.
In the meantime though, Durfee will work four days a week, until he and his family move from Grand Isle to Fair Haven permanently.
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