Stapczynski announces retirement; Town manager to end career in June after 25 years on the job

BILL KIRK/Staff photoAndover Town Manager Reginald "Buzz" Stapczynski announced his retirement on Monday night.

ANDOVER — After 25 years as town manager, Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski announced Monday night he will retire on June 30, which is the end of his final, five-year term.

The 67-year-old Andover resident said in a typed statement that was read to the Board of Selectmen that “after much thought and discussion with my wife, sons and close friends, I have decided this is the right time for a transition for me personally, professionally and for the town.”

He went on to say that he felt “blessed and fortunate” to have had such a “long and successful tenure” during which he worked with “distinguished public officials, outstanding department heads employees and volunteers.”

His announcement was met with a mix of sadness and gratitude from selectmen.

“I know one of the reasons Andover is such an exceptional place to live is because of your leadership over the last quarter-century,” selectmen Chairman Dan Kowalski said.

Brian Major, the longest-serving selectman on the board and one of Stapczynski’s most ardent supporters, said it was with “mixed emotions that I receive this message. ... It’s a tough message to hear.”

He noted that working with Stapczynski over the last 21 years has been “an absolute treasure. You have compiled an extremely talented pool of leaders and department heads and boards and commissions. You have brought tremendous leadership and you are a phenomenal communicator.”

Mary O’Donoghue, the most recently elected member, said she appreciated the town manager giving selectmen the time to conduct a thorough search for his replacement.

“This will give us time to fill your big shoes,” she said.

The final day of his contract is June 30. 

Selectman Paul Salafia said Stapczynski “always did the right thing for the community. It’s been a privilege to work with you all these years. Like Brian said, it’s with mixed emotions. But when it’s right, it’s right.”

Stapczynski received a standing ovation from the board and members of the audience.

He said Human Resources Director Candace Hall has already put a report together outlining the steps that selectmen must take to start the process of filling the position. It will likely include the hiring of an executive search firm, which will advertise the position, screen potential candidates and whittle the field down to a group of finalists for review by selectmen and possibly a search committee.

Selectmen will hold a meeting in the next couple of weeks to go over the process.

For now, however, Stapczynski said he’s still got a lot of work to do to get the annual town budget ready for Town Meeting in May, as well as other tasks on his plate.

“These next six months will be very important for the town,” he said in his statement. “I will work with you to assist with a smooth and seamless transition.”

He noted that the town “still has challenges ahead, and based on the way we have dealt with them in the past, I know they will be successfully addressed in the future. “

He said he was making the decision with “mixed emotions, but the time has come to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders in municipal management.”

When asked what he planned on doing in his retirement, he said he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Sandy, and two sons, Stephen, 26, who lives in New York City, and Niko, 24, who lives in Allston.

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