Goodbye Neil: Vernon bids farewell to town planner
By Jessica Ciparelli
It wasn't a funeral, but it left many town officials in mourning.
July 6 was Town Planner Neil Pade's last day in Vernon . He accepted a new job in Canton as director of planning and community development. Town officials gathered one last time to say goodbye to Pade, who had been with the town for the past three years, starting as the development coordinator/ assistant town planner. He became town planner in May 2006, replacing the retiring Tom Joyce.
"We gather today to mourn the loss of our town planner - we're going to miss you," said Mayor Ellen Marmer to Pade. She presented Pade with a framed photograph depicting Vernon and Rockville landmarks, on her behalf and on the behalf of the town. Pade said he will hang the photos in his new office in Canton , to remind him of where he came from.
"I wasn't sure what I was getting [myself] into," Pade said, when he first accepted the job in Vernon . "The first day, the mayor said, 'you're the savior of Vernon , good luck.' But she told me to crawl before you walk, walk before you run. It really has been a wonderful place to work. I'm going to miss it, I really am."
Pade noted that he had a special relationship with the mayor during his time in Vernon and said she had a tremendous impact on his career.
"It was like working for my mom for the past three years," he said, laughing. "She gave me my start here and gave me the freedom to grow."
Ann Letendre, chair of the Open Space Task Force and Hockanum River Linear Park Commission, said she has worked with town planners over the past 30 years, and Pade was by far the most professional and energetic to work with.
"It's Vernon 's loss," she said. "It's a sad day in Vernon ."
While the town seeks a new town planner, Abraham Ford, the town's zoning enforcement officer, will serve as the interim town planner. Town Administrator Christopher Clark said the deadline to apply for the position was July 16, and now, a list of candidates will be forwarded to the mayor. The town hopes to have someone lined up for the position by the beginning of August, with a start date sometime at the end of August.