Derry Town Admin Nied leaving post after year

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Londonderry Town Administrator Robert Nied, who also has served as  zoning administrator, has resigned his positions effective Nov. 5, after just one year on the job.

He was hired by the board in early October of 2017 and began working full-time in November 2017 in the combined rolls of town and zoning administrators.  It was the first time those two positions had been combined into one.

Robert Nied

Nied’s formal letter of resignation and the future of the combined positions jobs were discussed by the Select Board its Monday, Oct. 15 meeting, with the board deciding that the positions needed to be filled by two full-time people.

As town administrator, Nied  has worked closely with the Select Board. Nied helped close out the FEMA and Community Block grants stemming from Tropical Storm Irene and has working with community members on flood mitigation projects.

When the former Frog’s Leap Inn on Route 100 North became the property of Londonderry through a tax sale, Nied negotiated the removal of a tenant. Even though Londonderry no longer allows the spreading of treated waste on the septic fields, Nied has been working with state environmental agencies to test the land and is making plans to bring it into compliance so the fields can be formally closed. Among other duties, Nied has kept in contact with Marble Valley Engineering to keep the Town Office Planning Project moving.

Nied recently told the Select Board that he has resolved 31 issues of non-compliance to the town’s zoning by-laws in his role as zoning administrator. None had to go to court.

Nied also works closely with the Development Review Board as disputes are resolved and building permits are issued. Nied said DRB members use the zoning administrator as an information resource.

Nied also has worked as floodplain administrator, taking an interest in the safety of the Williams Dam.

Board chair Jim Ameden said he was sorry to hear that Nied would be leaving. He said Nied has done an “excellent job and things are better than when he arrived.” Board member Taylor Prouty said Nied’s absence will leave a “gaping hole” that will probably be filled by multiple people.

Earlier, Town Clerk Kelly Pajala told The Telegraph,  “We are very sad to see him go. He’s done a hell of a job.” She called him “level-headed and very thorough.”

Treasurer Tina Labeau said, “He’s been a great asset to the town. … (he) does very well with issues with his calm demeanor. He gets things done.”

Nied told the Telegraph that he has a “basic desire to spend more time with” his wife and son and to ”pursue some deferred personal interests.”

In his letter of resignation, Nied wrote, “Working with the Town of Londonderry Select Board, office staff and committees for the last year has been an extraordinary privilege for which I am deeply grateful. Londonderry is a wonderful Town with dedicated and effective leadership, a remarkable level of volunteerism and a great future. I look forward to watching that future unfold as part of the broader Southern Vermont community.”

Coming from Richmondville, N.Y., with an extensive background in community and rural preservation, Nied purchased a home in Chester with his wife Renee. He turned over his company, Robert Nied Consultancy Group, to others. It provides guidance “on issues related to cyber-security, privacy, risk management, project management, and regulatory compliance.”

On Monday night, after “reluctantly” accepting his letter of resignation, the board asked Nied to write new job descriptions for town administrator and zoning administrator. The board will review these  at a special meeting on Oct. 29 before posting job openings. Board members agreed with Prouty that both jobs should be filled by full-time people. Nied also agreed, saying there is an increase in work volume and in complexity at all levels of local government.

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