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A Day in the Life: Bonnie Therrien, North Branford’s Interim Town Manager

Therrien has already given residents a glimpse of her “transparent, open-door” style of government.

Growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts, Bonnie Therrien’s dream was to be a dancer in a Broadway show. While Therrien and her husband still enjoy going to the theater, Therrien’s career has certainly taken her on a different path.

It wasn’t until working on her master’s in public administration at American International College that Therrien even heard about a town manager style of government, though once she did, she was immediately intrigued.

"It just made sense," said Therrien, who also enjoys reading and spending time at her lake house canoeing and swimming.

Therrien’s first professional position was in Enfield and she has worked in various towns throughout Hartford County, even venturing to North Carolina for a short time. Despite her time down south, she was still more than thrilled when the broke yesterday and her office windows could be open.

So how did Therrien, a Wethersfield resident, end up in ? After and the town parted ways, Karl Kilduff–who was North Branford’s town manager from late 2001 to early 2008–told Therrien about the opening.

After speaking with Town Engineer Kurt Weiss, who was acting town manager at the time, Therrien interviewed with the Town Council. She was officially appointed at the after starting the day before.

“The staff has been great–they all have history here and are very dedicated to the town,” said Therrien. “Plus they have a sense of humor, which helps. I’m looking forward to working with them.” 

Therrien has been meeting with department heads one-on-one to “get up to speed on their issues and capital projects,” noting that one of the most important roles of an interim town manager is to “keep things going in the right direction.”

While she is unsure how long it will be until the town hires a permanent town manager–she said it could take up to six months–there are some things she is looking to take care of while here.

“We’ll take a hard look at implementing the budget and while there are some positions that are frozen, I want to work with the Town Council and staff to show how important those positions are,” said Therrien, who has two children and three granddaughters.  

When asked if she would be throwing her hat in the ring for the permanent position, Therrien said she “wasn’t sure yet.” In the meantime, she wants to stress that she has a “very open-door policy,” which has already been demonstrated in sharing her .

“My philosophy on being a manager is I’m here to help people resolve problems,” she said. “Of course, there will be time that I’ll have to tell people no, but I can tell them why and if you don’t like it, this is how you can change it. I want to help them understand how government works and make that easy as possible.

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