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The Yankee Express

New Webster Town Administrator LaFond impressed by town’s citizens

Webster Town Administrator Richard LaFond.

By Janet Stoica
He’s been at his new position of Town Administrator since February 8 and has plenty of praise for the town’s department heads as well as for its residents. 
Richard LaFond is a native of Brockton, graduated from Brockton High School, obtained his bachelor’s degree in history and public administration from Stonehill College, then received a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University.
His background and respect for history has served to impress him with Webster’s new Samuel Slater Experience and its cutting edge and futuristic displays. “The amount of detail and development that went into this museum is absolutely amazing,” he said, “and the level of giving by the Webster townspeople is truly inspiring. To have so many people come together for the benefit of all citizens is incredible.”  Mr. LaFond attended the recent ribbon-cutting for the official opening of the new museum.
Mr. LaFond has met with just about every department head in town and has been given a town tour by many of the managers. “It’s interesting to see and hear what each manager is focused on when it comes to their job,” he said. “Every riding tour was different and each focus was different but all the final results came down to how the town can keep moving forward for the better. Obviously you can’t help but appreciate the urban and rural parts of town. Webster Lake is spectacular and a great asset to the town and the infrastructure has been nicely improved as well. This town has really moved forward in the last 10 years. It’s an attractive place for someone like me that appreciates the history of its past shoe manufacturing and textile industries. People here really appreciate their roots.”
Mr. LaFond’s goals are to continue to work closely with department heads and the Board of Selectmen, while assisting with more downtown economic development and maintaining a strong fiscal environment for the town. He noted that soon state aid like that from ARPA grants will go away and new ways must be found to obtain needed funding. 
He sees a full-time fire department, approved by the townspeople, as a priority. “We have several positions that have been grant-funded,” he said, “and now the town will have to incorporate those positions into the budget. The policy decision has been made at Town Meeting and it’s our goal to maintain and achieve these objectives.” 
The town budget is on Mr. LaFond’s radar currently. “Every town has revenue nuances and each town has its own targets. Budgeting isn’t just about accounting, it’s about people,” he said, working with our department heads and staff trying to focus on and facilitate the best we can. Budgeting can be very divisive so working to keep people moving in the same direction and respecting what each department wants to achieve is very important.”
  When asked about making Webster a greener community, Mr. LaFond indicated that he has worked with the state’s Green Communities Division (“GCD”) in his past positions with the towns of Abington and Carver. The GCD provides grants, technical assistance, and local support from regional coordinators to assist cities and towns reduce their energy use and costs by implementing clean energy projects in municipal buildings, facilities, and schools. “I appreciate what we can accomplish with our buildings and roads. It’s something that our grandchildren can enjoy,” he said. “It’s beyond balancing a budget. All aspects will go on well beyond all our times here.”
Overall, Mr. LaFond is greatly impressed by the town’s momentum in moving forward from the new buildings like the Gladys E. Kelly Public Library and Park Avenue Elementary School to roadway improvements and new business openings. He appreciates the warm welcome he received from the community and the goodwill extended to him and looks forward to being part of that momentum.  
Contact Janet:  [email protected]