By Amanda Holman
Judy Lance, longtime assistant to the town manager, has retired as of Town Meeting Day. Her employment began in July 1995 when she took on a full time position as assistant to the town manager. Lance’s personal connection to the people in the town helped foster the open, communicative approachability needed for her responsibilities as a bridge between the townspeople and the town manager.
Lance’s duties steadily increased over her nearly 20 years in the town offices. She began by helping the town manager with administrative duties and Selectboard matters. Before retirement, she also performed human resources tasks, meeting with every new employee. “I really enjoyed that I got to meet every new employee and spend a little time with them. I’m one of the first contacts they have. I feel like that’s a responsibility, to make them feel comfortable,” she commented.
Lance’s attitude towards new employees (and towards people in general) is a reflection of how she believes the town manager runs the offices. During her tenure, she worked with three different town managers, including Paul Bohne, Shelburne’s last town manager, with whom she served for nearly 13 years. She noted that she learned so much from Bohne, including his strong commitment to public service and customer service.
When asked about Lance’s time as his assistant, Bohne said, “Judy was a key member of the Shelburne team for the 13 years that I was town manager. She was a wealth of knowledge regarding past actions taken by the Town. On the many occasions that a mystery needed to be solved, Judy loved the challenge and always found the information needed. One of her great strengths was her attention to detail […] she was indispensable.”
Lance loves that her job involved problem solving, and hopes that her institutional knowledge has been helpful to the current town manager, Joe Colangelo as well. Although Lance and Colangelo have only worked together for several months, Colangelo includes Lance as a part of his success. “During my first year, Judy has been warm and gracious and really helpful to me,” he states. “There’s no way I would have been able to have any success during the first year without Judy. She has a strong desire to help not only me, but everyone in the community.”
Lance has been working part-time since the start of the year to ease herself into retirement. She would have retired earlier, but Colangelo convinced her to stay on a bit longer. She has not been bored at all, but has been immensely enjoying her newfound free time. She remarked that she has new mental energy to visit old friends, organize her house, and take up Tai Chi. Once the nice weather arrives, she plans to spend time gardening, kayaking, and volunteering. She is careful, however, to cherish her free time and not to overbook herself with new activities. “People say that when you retire you’ll be busier than you were before,” she stated, laughing. “But I don’t want that. I want to be in charge of my time, not have it be in charge of me.”
Lance may be looking forward to retirement but she has no regrets about her time working in the town offices. “I’ve had a very meaningful career,” she reflected. “It’s a job that feels like you’re doing something worthwhile. I was able to work with the public and feel like I was helping people out.