Contract signed with new Montague town planner

  • POLLOCK

Staff Writer
Published: 12/7/2022 8:19:53 PM
Modified: 12/7/2022 8:19:32 PM

MONTAGUE — After successful contract negotiations, the Selectboard voted Monday to appoint Maureen Pollock as the next town planner and conservation agent.

Pollock, a former Turners Falls resident who currently serves as a staff planner in Amherst, was unanimously selected as the hiring committee’s first choice for the job out of three finalists interviewed. She replaces former Town Planner Walter Ramsey, who accepted the position of assistant town administrator during the summer. She is slated to begin work on Jan. 3.

“Montague is a wonderful gem, we all know, with a strong sense of community, and I’m truly honored to work here, and with you,” Pollock told the Selectboard.

Previously, Pollock served as an outreach intern for the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition and as an intern for planning departments in Amherst and Springfield. Before taking her position on Amherst’s planning staff, she was Greenfield’s assistant planner from 2013 to 2017.

“It feels like a homecoming to come back and serve Montague and be back in Franklin County” she said Wednesday.

Pollock also holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Framingham State University and a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

At a Selectboard meeting on Nov. 28, Jen Audley, chair of the hiring committee, touted Pollock as being “well-known for her work ethic and for the contributions that she’s made to community life” in the region. This week, Town Administrator Steve Ellis added that he had “received a number of notes” from other communities congratulating Montague on their “good fortune of attracting Maureen.”

“We’re also confident that because of that experience, she will be able to assume the planner’s projects and responsibilities without needing to have a lot of transitional training or support,” Audley commented previously, observing that Pollock’s recent endeavors have involved “projects that are directly relevant to the needs of our town.”

Pollock said her confidence is bolstered by Ramsey still working at Town Hall.

“Walter Ramsey has done an extraordinary job being their planner over the years and I’m honored to have him pass the baton to me,” Pollock said. “His knowledge and experience will be so instrumental.”

In Amherst, Pollock’s duties have included assisting various boards, including the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Design Review Board, by writing grant applications and helping with planning projects. Recent projects have included drafting and presenting proposed zoning changes, creating a townwide Pedestrian and Bicycle Network Plan and updating Amherst’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/504 Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan.

Pollock said the projects she’s now faced with in Montague have her feeling particularly optimistic. Rather than feel intimidated by previous failures to redevelop sites such as the Canal District and the former Farren Care Center, she is excited to “explore what has been worked on thus far and strategize what is out there” for options regarding redevelopment around town.

“Montague is along (Interstate) 91 and Route 2,” she noted. “It is an enticing location given that proximity to 91 and Route 2.”

This optimism is further fueled by Pollock’s observation that much of Montague’s infrastructure remains in good condition.

“A few of the villages … have such good infrastructure already in place, so to see that flourish with further development is a really exciting opportunity.”

Rather than set specific goals as she enters her new chapter, Pollock said she has opted to begin as more of a listener.

“My goals are to really … get up to speed with what the community wants,” she said.

After starting work with Montague on Jan. 3, Pollock will earn $75,009 annually and will work 35 hours per week.

Reach Julian Mendoza
at 413-930-4231 or
jmendoza@recorder.com.


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