Board says goodbyes as manager heads to Boston 'green' commission

Adam W. Chapdelaine, 2020 Chapdelaine

UPDATED June 17: After serving as Arlington’s town manager since early 2012, Adam Chapdelaine will start a new chapter in his professional life, in September, as deputy director of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission. Chapdelaine’s last day with Arlington was Friday, June 17.

According to its website, the commission seeks to “accelerate the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan by convening, organizing and engaging leaders from Boston’s key sectors.” This role enables Chapdelaine to focus on his key goal of climate action. In Arlington, Chapdelaine was noted for his “green” efforts.

The town was the host for a reception for Chapdelaine on his last day in the Town Hall auditorium. An estimated 100 people attennded and heard comments from local and state officials.

At the June 13 Select Board meeting, board members and others expressed their thanks and appreciation for everything Chapdelaine has done for Arlington.

Board members, others offer praise

Chair Len Diggins: “I know how much you care about the town, and I’ve a lot of respect for you.”

Vice Chair Diane Mahon: “I appreciate your honesty and breadth of knowledge, and for providing instant access to information at every Select Board meeting. During Covid, many businesses were able to stay in town through your initiatives.”

Eric Helmuth: “Arlington residents are grateful for your 12 years as a fantastic town manager, and you leave this place better than when you came. You’re a great team builder and loyal to the town and its residents, demonstrating honesty, transparency and a willing to engage with anyone who wants to. You’ve also made Arlington a leader in environmental sustainability.” 

Steve DeCourcey: “From day one, you knocked it out of the park. I appreciate the knowledge and depth of experience that you gained in a short amount of time.”

John Hurd: “Thank you for your years of service to the town. I’ve always thought of you as a regional leader in how we think about our streets and traffic concerns. You have the respect of every town employee and department head. Although sad to see you go, I’m excited for you.”

Town Counsel Doug Heim: “Adam is a sterling example of the term ‘civil servant.’ So many of us value your leadership and the way you lead a 45,000-person town, five board members, and other public servants who enjoy working with you. I appreciate your leadership.”

During the meeting’s open forum, Town Meeting member Carl Wagner (15) congratulated the board for choosing Chapdelaine as town manager.

Chapdelaine’s response

“Twelve years has been a significant amount of time, a happy time working here in Arlington. The job is challenging but incredibly fulfilling. The team of people, volunteers and staff are absolutely extraordinary. I’ve created bonds that I hope will continue the rest of my life,” said Chapdelaine. 

At the June 17 farewell, town and state officials will make brief statements at 10 a.m. Light refreshments will be served.

“In the last decade Adam has brought so much to the Arlington community,” said Diggins in a June 9 town news release. “From the Mass. Ave. project in East Arlington, to the building of a new state-of-the-art high school, to leading the town through the pandemic, he leaves an enduring legacy the Arlington community will enjoy for years to come. Please join me on June 17 to wish him well.”

See the ACMi video of the June 13 Select Board meeting:

Manager since 2012

Chapdelaine has served as Arlington’s Town Manager since February 2012. Two years before that, he served as Arlington’s deputy town manager; Brian Sullivan was town manager at that time.

“I’m grateful to the board for the faith and trust that it has put in me over the years and for the support provided by staff, residents, and volunteers working on many important issues,” said Chapdelaine in the news release. “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity here in Arlington and proud of what we have accomplished as a team. Arlington is a wonderful community. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Among many capital improvements, under his tenure Arlington developed its first master plan, which has guided, and continues to guide, improvements in transportation, affordable housing, historic preservation, arts and culture, and sustainability efforts, including the recently endorsed net-zero plan and Connect Arlington transportation plan.

Diversity, finance efforts

Organizational changes over the years include the creation of a consolidated finance department to enhance efficiency and transparency, and a facilities department, to better maintain the town’s 40-plus buildings. A diversity, equity and inclusion division was also created, aimed at putting the town on a path toward eliminating systemic racism in town government.

On the finance front, Chapdelaine provided a detailed town manager’s fiscal-year plan and budget annually, and introduced online tools, such as the Arlington Visual BudgetOpen Checkbook and the Public Records Center to provide residents a convenient way to find information they seek or how to request it.

These are highlights from Chapdelaine’s tenure in Arlington. Learn more about these and additional projects and initiatives from past annual reports.

March 3, 2022: Town manager plans to resign, aims to 'recharge'

This news announcement was published Thursday, June 9, 2022. It was updated June 14 with a summary of the June 13 board meeting by freelance writer Susan Gilbert. An ACMi video window was added June 15.