The New City of Essex Junction Seeks its First Manager
The City of Essex Junction, formerly the Village of Essex Junction, will become Vermont’s newest and fourth largest city on July 1, 2022, and we’re searching for a manager to keep us strong and guide us through this transformative and exciting chapter in our community’s 130-year history. Applications are due by June 12, 2022.
Our New Manager Shares our Commitment to:
- Creating a forward-thinking municipal culture that embraces equity and inclusion as essential elements of good governance.
- Maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure to meet the challenges of climate change and protecting the magnificent ecosystems of Northern Vermont and Lake Champlain
- Re-envisioning our 19th century downtown as a well-designed, thriving, family-friendly, walkable urban center.
- Enriching our quality of life by investing in education, public-engagement, and recreation, and providing community resources that enable healthy, active living.
- Caring for each other as neighbors with a shared stake in our collective wellbeing.
Who are we looking for?
Our ideal candidate knows that successful managers achieve their goals by prioritizing collaboration, teamwork, and two-way communication. The Manager provides the foundation of fairness, responsibility, and trust upon which the staff relies, and which sets the tone for intelligent governance. Being approachable, open-minded, and intellectually curious are not just desirable personal qualities but necessary tools for getting the job done.
Although our City Charter is new, our municipal departments have decades of history and are led by experienced professionals whose dedication and high standards helped establish Essex Junction as one of Vermont’s premier communities. Our new Manager knows that becoming the leader of this team means learning how to support their efforts and provide the strategic vision and positive energy to help them succeed. The Manager encourages their continuing professional development and sets an example by staying connected to local and national networking organizations, such as the International City/County Management Association, to stay informed about best practices in local government.
The new City Manager thrives on public engagement, whether in large, town-hall settings or one-to-one encounters, and enthusiastically embraces the role of being the face and voice of our community. The Manager works closely with an experienced, active, and engaged City Council to establish bonds of trust and help them develop financially prudent and legally sound policies.
Our ideal candidate comes to us with a demonstrated commitment to fiscal responsibility and a solid grasp of the basics of municipal budgeting. Our successful candidate is comfortable operating within the policy and statutory framework of local and state government and can smoothly pivot to each new task, such as working with the City Attorney on a complex environmental issue, to helping the Public Works Director develop a funding request for the City Council, to participating in a citizen-led planning effort for a community event.
Some Immediate Challenges:
- Work closely with the City Finance Director to develop our first City budget as we complete the process of disengaging our finances and shared municipal operations from Essex Town and transition away from being an incorporated village within the Town to becoming a fully independent city.
- Help oversee multiple infrastructure projects coming our way, including a $2 million transformation of our circa 1820 village office into a 21st century city hall; a $3 million rebuild of a major water line; a $9 million traffic improvement initiative; and a $3.2 million renovation of the Essex Junction Amtrak station.
- Take leadership working with the City Council and Human Resources Director to revise and advocate for City policies and procedures that codify our commitment to equity, inclusion, and transparency.
- Help implement a recently approved sales tax which will be used to fund discretionary capital projects.
- Productively engage with the City Development Director, the Essex Junction-Essex Town Housing Commission, local developers, relevant county and state agencies, and other stakeholders to formulate strategies for addressing the acute housing shortage and consequent high cost of housing.
Essex Junction is Vermont’s fastest growing community (2020 US Census). Our successful strategy embodies our commitment to quality schools, family-friendly culture, public safety, responsible financing, and thoughtful planning. We’re seeking a dynamic, innovative leader who shares our progressive values and who is genuinely excited by the prospect of being the first Manager of our new city government.
Profile: City of Essex Junction, Vermont
Essex Junction is a progressive, growing, high-quality-of-life small city in the Greater Burlington metropolitan area within a short distance of the University of Vermont and UVM Medical Center, Champlain College, St. Michael’s College, Burlington International Airport, and Lake Champlain. Albany, Boston, Montreal, and New York City are readily accessible by car, commuter flights, bus service, and Amtrak.
Of the 10,590 Essex Junction residents counted in the 2020 census, 27% are under 18; 58% are 19-65; and 15% are over 65. Approximately 82% identify as White; 1% as Black; 10% as Asian; 2% as Hispanic; and 5% as two or more races or Other. The median household income is $80,019 and 48% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Essex Junction is a founding member of the Essex-Westford School District, consistently ranked among the best in the state for college acceptance, special services, and test scores.
Global Foundries, a multinational microchip manufacturer, has a fabrication plant in Essex Junction which is the state’s largest private employer. Other nearby large employers include the University of Vermont, UVM Medical Center, USCIS Department of Homeland Security, and the Vermont Air National Guard and Army National Guard.
With 4,500 households in 4.6 square miles interlaced with sidewalks and mostly residential streets, the City has a neighborly, tree-lined, family-friendly feel. The community prioritizes investment in education, health-wellness, and recreation. Besides a full slate of year-round recreation programs and community activities, the Essex Junction Parks and Recreation Department offers licensed pre-school and childcare programs. The Brownell Library is the state’s second largest municipal library and is located next to the Essex Area Senior Center, which is operated jointly by Essex Junction and Essex Town.
In 2014 the City began intensive collaborations with private developers and state agencies to revitalize its small historic downtown with the aim of creating a lively and sustainable high-density residential-commercial core. This effort grew from an earlier citizen-based initiative, funded by the Orton Family Foundation, that incorporated shared community values into a plan for thoughtful growth in the 21st century. Among other improvements, four multi-story commercial-residential buildings were constructed between 2015-2022, providing over 200 new housing units, including 42 units of senior housing. In the same period the City received over $8 million in state and federal funds for major infrastructure projects in the downtown core and is on track to receive an additional $3.5 million in federal funds to renovate the Essex Junction Amtrak Station, the state’s busiest.
As Vermont’s newest city, with ready access to the diverse educational and employment opportunities of Chittenden County/Greater Burlington and the year-round recreational resources of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, Essex Junction is one of northern New England’s most desirable communities for those seeking to create their own, meaningful work-life balance.