Springfield Town Manager to retire
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | April 29,2014
Susan Smallheer / Staff Photo
SPRINGFIELD – Town Manager Robert Forguites announced his retirement late Monday night at the conclusion of a Select Board meeting.
Forguites, 75, said he would stay full time until the end of September, and then work for a smooth transition until the end of December and schedule “a graceful exit.”
Forguites has been town manager for 16 years, and before that, served the town four years as comptroller after a career with a variety of Vermont banks. A native of Brandon, he has lived in Springfield since 1978. He is one of the longest serving town managers in Springfield, and he said, “one of the oldest.”
Quoting from Lewis Carroll's “Through the Looking Glass,” Forguites said “'The time has come,' the Walrus said, 'to talk of many things: Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.'”
“Now, I am neither a walrus nor a carpenter,” Forguites told the board. “I am neither a cabbage nor a king. However, I do need to talk about something,” he said, said he needed to “end some speculation, and I'm sure you have heard the speculation.”
“I know that I must be fair to the town of Springfield. The town has been good to me and to my wife and has given a good education to our son. I also know that I must be fair to myself,” said Forguites. “Therefore, I intend to head down the road to retirement.”
Forguites, whose wife Barbara died a few years ago, said there were many projects at their North Springfield home – “so that will be my retirement project.”
“And, who knows, I might want to quote Nancy Kerrigan after she won one of her skating titles and say, “I'm going to Disney World!”
After his announcement, there was stunned silence, and his secretary Donna Hall wiped tears from her eyes. Finally board members spoke one by one and thanked Forguites for his long service and dedication.
“People have told me 'You'll know when it is time,' and I know it is now time to start the process,” Forguites said.
Thomas Kennedy, executive director of the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission, who was at the meeting to discuss several issues, praised Forguites' professionalism and kindness.
He said in his 25 years with the regional planning commission, he had never worked with anyone “with the integrity of Bob Forguites.”
They have worked very closely on many issues, Kennedy said. “He's no longer Bob Forguites, he's my friend. You'll never get another town manager like Bob.”
Afterward, Forguites told reporters that he had almost retired last fall, and then during the budget process, before convincing himself to stay through another budget session and March Town Meeting.
He said his proudest accomplishment was a uninterrupted string of town budget victories and bond votes since he became manager.
Forguites was appointed interim town manager in May 1998, and had initially declined the permanent job, but in July 1998, he was named to the job permanently.
“I know it's time,” he said.
Chairman Kristi Morris said he wasn't surprised at Forguites' decision, and said he had talked to him in recent months about his pending decision.
“He gave us until September and we'll have to figure out what to do," said Morris.