Winhall gets new town administrator

WINHALL - After a decade of service by Dennis McCarthy, Winhall has a new Town Administrator.

Lissa Stark, 35, joined the Town part-time on May 1 before taking over for McCarthy on Aug. 1.

"I've been working on trying to get up to speed on all the internal processes and reporting requirements and educating myself on some of the routine tasks that occur; bringing myself up to speed on what ordinances are in place, what policies are in place," said Stark. "I have worked with staff to revamp employee time sheets. I'm working on revamping some employee policies. There [are] a lot of little things that occur on a day to basis that I'm just educating myself on and then learning what the process is internally."

Stark worked for the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) for 12 years doing county level town planning and emergency management planning and solid waste planning. As a result, she said she became relatively familiar with town government. However, she acknowledged that moving into town administrator's role was a change.

"It is quite a difference because I have experience both at the county level and at the state level both in forms of government, but at the town level, in a Town Administrator, manager type capacity, it's different," said Stark. "It's a little bit unique because there are different mandates and different processes, different requirements, different day to day activities that go on that I just need to familiarize myself with."

Stark also served as the Homeland Security Training Coordinator for the State of Vermont, working at the Vermont Police Academy - a position she held for two years.

Since she took office in August, Stark has written some grants, two of which fell under the State of Vermont's Better Back Roads Program. One of the projects, Stark said, is to conduct a townwide culvert and bridge inventory to ensure that - for planning purposes - the town knows the conditions of its roads and bridges so they can have a plan in place for fixing problems.

Another piece of the Better Back Roads grant is going to cover the cost of replacing some of the culverts along Old Snow Valley Road - one of the town's highways.

Another significant undertaking Stark has taken on since assuming the post is the bringing the town's website - - up to date and helping bring them into the digital era.

"[We're] trying to bring a lot of the hard copy paperwork into an electronic version. So, trying to go as paperless as possible," said Stark. "Only certain documents can be maintained in electronic version, but we're moving that way."

Stark said they're not only trying to get more information on the website so that it would be more readily accessible to the public, but that they are also in the process of creating email accounts for all town employees. In addition, agendas are now going out by email and being posted in certain locations as opposed to being distributed in hard copy.

Although the website has been up for about a year, the town has really begun to make use of it more over the last few months. Since they have begun that process, Stark said more and more people are beginning to go there for information.

"I've talked to people that have been accessing the website and they can pull off our highway ordinance or our facilities use policy. They can pull off minutes from the last meeting or the agenda from the upcoming meeting," said Stark. "So, I do think people are starting to utilize it more and the word is spreading about the website even."

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