Town Administrator Achieves 25 Years of Service, a First in NH

March 14, 2014

Staff photo by Barbara O’Brien Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan has been serving the community for the past 25 years, the longest tenure for that position ever in New Hampshire.

 

by Barbara O’Brien

David Sullivan has achieved something no other person in his position has ever done in New Hampshire.  Sullivan has served as a town administrator, in the same town, for 25 years; a quarter of a century.

After all those years, it’s not easy to keep a secret from Sullivan, but his fellow employees, former town officials and members of his family were able to do just that.

On March 10, assuming it would be just another Monday night selectmen’s meeting; Sullivan was caught completely off guard when the accolades began.  Sullivan’s first hint that something special was happening was when Selectman Al Letizio, Jr. began extolling Sullivan’s strengths.  “Having Dave as our town administrator for all these years has been a gift for us and our community,” Letizio said.  “Being a town administrator is not an easy job to do. It requires the consummate professional.”

Betty Dunn and Galen Stearns were two of the selectmen who were on the board when Sullivan was hired, way back on August 1, 1988.  Not only had Windham never had a town administrator before, but it was also the year that the board of selectmen increased from three to five members.  Looking back on those years, Dunn summed up her feelings by saying, simply, “Dave has served us well.”  Hiring Sullivan as Windham’s very first town administrator was the right choice, she said.

New Hampshire State Representative and former Selectman Charles McMahon presented an official declaration from the House of Representatives in Concord, commending Sullivan for his “exemplary service” and honoring him with “the highest accolades for decades of public service.”  Put simply by Letizio, “We are very grateful for that service.”

Senator Jim Rausch, who represents the Town of Windham in the New Hampshire State Senate, also presented Sullivan with an official resolution; one extending gratitude for Sullivan’s quality, commitment and service to the citizens of Windham.  “Our best wishes for your continued success,” Rausch said.  On a more personal note, Rausch, who lives in Derry, said he would like to know what Sullivan’s secret is for having survived so long in such a high-stress occupation.  “We haven’t been so fortunate in Derry,” Rausch laughed.

A proclamation from the Town of Windham was also presented to Sullivan, saluting him for his “steady leadership over the past quarter of a century.”

Emotionally moved by all the attention, which included three standing ovations, Sullivan took a few moments to gather his thoughts when he stepped up to the podium.  “It’s been a great 25 years,” Sullivan said.  “Windham is definitely my second home.”  “Maybe there will be another 25 years,” he said, adding that about 90 percent of the time his job is very enjoyable.  “Most of the time it’s fun.”

On a more serious note, Sullivan said that his job is so much easier because of the great people with whom he works.  “The residents of Windham should be very proud to have these fine people working for them,” he said.  “It has been my honor and my privilege to serve the Town of Windham.”

Although Sullivan has had opportunities to work with larger communities, which paid a bigger salary, he has chosen to stay in Windham because of the character of the people with whom he works and those he serves.  “Money is not everything,” he said.

Sullivan also thanked his wife, Colleen, for her endless love and support.  Dave and Colleen were engaged to be married when he was hired in 1988.  “She has stood by me through thick and thin.”

Following Sullivan’s comments, Selectman Kathleen DiFruscia, who chose not to seek re-election, made a few remarks.  “I can’t express how much I have enjoyed serving this community for the past three years,” she said.  “We are so fortunate in this town to have so many remarkable people working here,” she commented.  “It is bittersweet for me to be leaving this board.”

Phil LoChiatto, who has served as chairman of the board of selectmen for the past year, also decided not to seek a second term.  “Nine years on the planning board and three years as selectman has been an honor and a privilege,” LoChiatto said.  “It has been an eye-opener as to how well this town is run,” he said.  “I don’t think I’ll be gone for too long,” LoChiatto stated, leaving the door open for another run for office.  “I just need to take a break.”