Published: 3/3/2022 10:13:41 PM
Modified: 3/3/2022 10:13:46 PM
HARTFORD — Hartford Public Works Director Hannah Tyler said she is leaving to take a job in southern Vermont. Her exit marks the second departure of a high-level town official in less than a month.
Tyler joined Hartford in 2018 from Brattleboro, Vt., where she had been highway and utilities superintendent. She has overseen several big-ticket infrastructure projects in town, but after years in state and local government, she is switching to the private sector to be near where she lives in Guilford, Vt., she told the Valley News on Wednesday.
“To be very genuine, I wasn’t looking for anything. The position I’m moving into is a really unique opportunity close to home for me. Somebody else brought this to me, and it was a shot in the dark. There were a lot of tear-filled nights of lost sleep it took me to make the final decision,” Tyler said.
She declined to identify her new employer because it has not yet been announced.
Tyler’s departure comes fast on the heels of former Deputy Police Chief Brad Vail, a 29-year veteran of the Hartford Police Department, who resigned to become the new police chief in Barre. The top three police positions in Hartford are currently vacant, and the department has been without a permanent chief since Phil Kasten left more than a year ago.
Tyler, 38, said her last day will be March 11. Her deputy, Jeremy Delisle, assistant director of public works operations, will take over the 30-person department as interim director, said Hartford Town Manager Tracy Yarlott-Davis.
Major projects of Tyler’s tenure in Hartford including building the two traffic circles on Route 5 at Sykes Mountain Avenue and Ralph Lehman Drive in White River Junction, a more than $6.8 million project, most of it federally funded, that wrapped up last fall. It had been on the drawing board for 18 years, she said.
“In the beginning, it was a really contentious project,” Tyler said about the two traffic circles, alluding to the last-minute holdout of one of the property owners that nearly led the town to seize the land through condemnation proceedings before the parties were able to reach a settlement agreement. “But all the work around it feels like an incredible accomplishment to me.”
She also leaves just as the town is teeing up the second phase of its $5 million South Main Street project in downtown White River Junction to upgrade aging water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. The first phase, which extended from the south end to C&S Pizza, wrapped up last summer.
Phase 2, which picks up from where Phase 1 left off and will extend around the corner to North Main Street, was set to begin last summer but met with fierce resistance from restaurant owners who said the dust and noise created by heavy machinery breaking up the street would kill their outdoor dining business, which was their lifeblood during the pandemic.
The Hartford Selectboard at its Feb. 22 meeting approved the public works department’s recommendation to award a $2.3 million contract to Nott Excavating to begin work later this year. For the first time in two years, however, the town will not be issuing permits for expanded outdoor restaurant seating.
Yarlott-Davis credited Tyler for accomplishing the seemingly impossible with the South Main Street project.
“The first phase actually came in under budget, which — considering everything that we’ve been dealing with doing that project in the middle of COVID and all the supply chain issues— that’s amazing project management,” Yarlott-Davis said.
Contact John Lippman at email@example.com.