The former chairman of Chelmsford’s Board of Selectmen is now an employee of the Town of Westford, at least for the time being.
Matt Hanson started as a temporary administrative assistant for Town Manager Jodi Ross earlier in June to help fill in for several staff members out on leave for various reasons.
Ross found that Hanson was available from Chelmsford town manager Paul Cohen at a recent Middlesex 3 meeting.
She formally introduced Hanson at last week’s Strategic Planning Retreat at Kimball Farm, giving him his first paycheck during the opening address.
“I told him he’d come in and do everything from administrative work to analysis of budgets,” said Ross. “I’d love to keep him, we’ll have to see what opportunities are available. He’s very bright and has a great customer service demeanor.”
In the past, Hanson has held positions under former Lowell city manager Bernie Lynch, as an employee of the Lowell Police Department, and was nearly named as the assistant town administrator in Tyngsborough.
Outside of his duties as a selectman, Hanson also serves as the chairman of the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments, and works as a real estate agent in Chelmsford.
“I was happy to step up and provide some assistance however I could and gain some more experience on the administrative side of government,” says Hanson. “You see more the nuts and bolts of how things get done day to day, 9 to 5, it’s helped broaden my understanding of local government.”
For Hanson, the transition between towns wasn’t too difficult given their similarities.
“I’d say (Westford and Chelmsford) are similar in a lot of ways in terms of the issues they care about, there are a lot of comparisons,” he said. “We’re right next door to each other; we have similar sizes and economies. Although some people in Westford and Chelmsford might disagree, we’re pretty similar towns.”
For Ross, Hanson’s addition to town hall may result in new connections with Chelmsford.
“We really don’t do a lot with Chelmsford,” she said. “We’ve reached out to them on things in the past, but I think it has opened a new relationship with Chelmsford.”
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CORRECTION: Hanson has been a selectman for five years, but stepped down as chairman in April, replaced by Pat Wotjas.