BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – After a thorough search, the town of Rockingham and village of Bellows Falls recently hired a new manager. In a recent joint meeting between the Rockingham Selectboard and the Bellows Falls Village Trustees, Scott D. Pickup was a unanimous choice to become the new town manager through June 2022, with a possible one-year extension added on.
Originally from Monroe, Conn., Pickup has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration, both from the University of Cincinnati. He was previously, for six years, the commissioner of public works for the city of New Rochelle, N.Y., and before that was the city manager in Rye, N.Y. and Germantown, Ohio. Being from out-of-state, how did his interest in this position and Vermont come about?
“I have a son attending the University of Vermont, and my wife and I have spent increasing amounts of time over the last three years visiting him and other places in Vermont,” Pickup said. “After spending multiple years working in metro New York at different local governments, I wanted to step away and find a job where I could live and work in a community. I saw the listing for RockBF on the VLCT website and decided to apply.”
After the town’s previous manager, Wendy Harrison, resigned in May, the search for the successor came down to Pickup and one other candidate. Pickup was selected and considered the best candidate for the position because of his extensive city, town, and municipality managerial experience.
“I have had the privilege of working in a diverse array of communities in terms of size and population, and enjoyed my time working in Germantown, Ohio, [population 5,000] which shares a lot of the same challenges and opportunities that exist here,” Pickup said.
“Working in a smaller organization requires the staff to wear many hats and pitch in to get the job done, and I really felt the spirit during my interview process here. I am very happy that I was selected and my appreciation for the dedication and effectiveness of the current staff has only increased as I have settled into the job.
“As with any new position, I have been getting up to speed on current operations, budget, and the expectations of the elected officials for the manager. Covid has been a concern in all our conversations and we are wary of its continued impact on our business community, education system, and the safety of the staff and public, which will be a factor as we develop budgets and revenue projections for 2021 and beyond.”
A few of Pickup’s top priorities will include the Police Department’s union negotiations, the village and town budgets, the continued efforts to revitalize the Bellows Falls Opera House and local businesses.
“Being a small organization, I am always looking for efficiencies in our operations, and we have some opportunities to add more citizen services through our website and online, where we can create better access and convenience for our residents,” Pickup concluded. “I am also encouraged with our Police Department and elected officials supporting community-based policing strategies and increasing our public outreach.
“We are also looking to start some public meetings where we hope to engage the public in a candid discussion about the issues that are top of mind to folks. Finally, I hope citizens reach out to me, either in person at Town Hall, by email at email@example.com or by phone to share their insights, concerns, and advice. Local government works best when we have a broad representation of citizens participating.”