WESTFORD — After serving Westford for over 14 years, Town Manager Jodi Ross announced her retirement in a June 28 Select Board meeting.
Ross officially retires from her position on Jan. 3, 2023.
“We could begin and go on until January 2023 and talk about all the accomplishments of Jodi over the last 14 years and all of the changes she has brought to the town,” said Select Board Chair Andrea Peraner-Sweet.
Ross reflects on career
Ross originally began in her position in Westford in 2008, where she noted she was “ready for a challenge” when accepting the position in Westford.
“My prior 9 years of experience in a similarly-sized town (Westborough) along the 495 corridor, along with my 4 1/2 years of experience in Bolton, which also provided me with experience in a town that greatly valued its history, conservation land, natural beauty, amenities, and resident engagement, made me feel Westford would be a good fit,” Ross told WestfordCAT in an email.
She continued, “there were so many committees filled with so many people who loved the town, I thought it would be rewarding to work and even perhaps live in the town.”
When asked to reflect on her accomplishments, Ross said “it’s really difficult to choose just one.”
Of her accomplishments, Ross believes her work in keeping town finances stable, steering the town through the 2008 recession and her commitment to to necessary capital projects — such as the construction of a new fire station on Boston Road and the the renovation and expansion of Town Hall are among her most important.
“Probably the most satisfying part of my job has been the opportunity to help people day in and day out, whether individual residents or town officials or town and school employees,” she said.
After her retirement, Ross hopes to complete and publish a number of children’s books as well as a novel she has drafted.
Board begins search for new Town Manager
The Select Board will now begin the search for a new town manager.
Peraner-Sweet noted that the board will soon create a search committee and begin seeking volunteers to serve on the committee.
“In terms of the committee itself, the committee that starts to review and interview candidates, how many people do we want on it, who do we want to have representation from and should we start soliciting volunteers from the community,” said Peraner-Sweet. “I do think we should have volunteers from the community.”
The board will also soon be enlisting an executive search firm to procure potential candidates.
“This is not something we can do without help from a professional search firm,” said Peraner-Sweet.
Submitting a Request for Proposal and hiring a search firm for a new town manager was not included in the budget voters approved at Annual Town Meeting. Officials will either have to use reserve funding or use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“You could go either go to FinCom or use ARPA funds. Either one of those would be options,” said Ross. “There’s not funding in the budget for this.”
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