Great Barrington — Goodbyes are almost always bittersweet, but outgoing town manager Jennifer Tabakin is optimistic and looking to the future.
Tabakin announced last May that she would not seek to have her contract renewed when it expires at the end of June of this year.
“I love Great Barrington and it’s been a privilege to be here for six years and serve the town,” Tabakin said late Thursday afternoon at a farewell party in her honor at 20 Railroad Public House. “There’s so much that’s happened.”
Asked about her accomplishments, Tabakin said she is proud of the town’s paid staff and volunteers, who she described as ” a bunch of excellent professionals who are really committed to their work.” Tabakin hired many of the paid staff. The quality of the staff, she said, “is something extremely special and it really sets a foundation for a lot of accomplishments that have been able to be achieved over the last six years.”
Tabakin cited infrastructure projects and “a ton of improvements in the way we manage things operationally in the town.” Many observers have told The Edge that the budget process has been smoother in the Tabakin years than it was under her predecessor, the cantankerous Kevin O’Donnell.
“I’ve had fun, I love local government and never a day goes by that you are not faced with something else that’s a new experience or a new challenge, and very important issues that really impact everybody’s day-to-day lives,” Tabakin continued. “Whether it’s solving big problems or little problems, attention to details really matters and are important to make the quality of life that we have and are privileged to have in Great Barrington.”
Tabakin declined to say what her next move would be professionally but did say that it would almost certainly be in public service. Tabakin was a finalist earlier this year to become town administrator in Adams but was not offered the job.
“We wish Jennifer good luck,” selectboard Chair Steve Bannon told the Edge. “We were lucky to have her and we thank her for her time.”
Tabakin will work in Town Hall until the end of the month. Her successor, Mark Pruhenski, will take over Sunday, June 2, though Tabakin will be available on a consulting basis through the end of June, Bannon said.
A Great Barrington resident, Pruhenski had served as town administrator in Richmond and Whately and was Great Barrington’s health agent until 2015.