Kimberly Newman, our new Town Manager, hit the ground running. She started at Orleans Town Hall just two weeks ago — and has already attended the annual Pancake Breakfast at the Fire Station, met with Town Hall staff and department heads, walked in the Fourth of July parade, visited with the Select Board, Snow Library staff, DPW, Fire & Rescue, Police Department, Finance Committee, Wastewater Management Committee, Energy & Climate Action Committee, Architectural Review Committee, Community Preservation Committee and Historical Commission, and weighed in on our thorniest problem, affordable housing. (Curious about her daunting onboarding schedule? Check out pages 174-178 of the June 28th Select Board packet.)
Hoping to know our new Town Manager better, EXIT 89 sent Kim some questions that she was kind enough to answer:
Q: What’s the best way to describe your family life?
A: Family life is the center of who I am. I am raising two children, two Great Danes, two cats and an axolotl!
Q: Are there activities, hobbies, pastimes or other passions you can tell us about?
A: I have been a volunteer all of my life. I coached youth sports for 15 years and ran the soccer league in our last community. I’ve been on the parent-teacher organizations of each of my children's schools and I was a Cub Scout Den Leader. I have been active in animal rescues and enjoy fostering large breed dogs. My personal interests are reading, hiking, and I love to travel. I am a die-hard Patriots fan and enjoy going to games every season.
Q: What are the ages of your kids and will they be attending local schools?
A: Aaron is 15, Calista is 11. We are still waiting to hear on transfer acceptance for my son to attend Cape Cod Tech but there are many great school districts here. We are very fortunate.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Coventry, RI, with summers at Matunuck Beach in South Kingstown.
Q: How did you get into municipal government?
A: When I was an undergrad, I was a political science major and planned on attending law school. The department chair asked me to stay on to become a teaching assistant and they would pay for my master's degree. The only issue was I had already taken so many graduate level classes, I would have had to take courses at other universities to get enough credits to obtain my master’s in political science. So I asked if there was any other degree I could pursue, and they said public administration. I took one look at the courses, and it was a lightbulb moment for me. I had always been more interested in the structure and function of government rather than politics.
Q: What’s the most fun part of the job for you?
A: The best part of being a manager is the variety of issues. Every day is filled with new challenges and puzzles to solve. And each of those challenges brings new faces. Public service is a calling. It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen to serve a community. Professional town management is a tool that helps communities cultivate and grow ideas into reality, and I just love that.
Q: How would you describe your personality and how it plays into your professional life — and your approach to your new job?
A: I would describe myself as thoughtful, energetic, and authentic. I really pride myself on being real. It can be tricky to navigate that sometimes because there can be an air of expectation about what a CAO (chief administrative officer) "should" be like as a leader of an organization. I want to be myself — I'm not into status or career building. I do this work because I love it and it feels great to me because it is 100% in service to others.
Q: Do you have any history with Cape Cod? What drew you to moving here?
A: I do not have much of a personal history here but I grew up on the beach in Rhode Island. I love the water — that’s what drew me to the Cape. It is a part of who I am. I also love a small-town feel and prefer to work, and stay long term, in one community. I like the tangible feel of the work that we do in committees and being able to see a project all the way from concept to completion is an awesome feeling. I chose to pursue a career in Massachusetts because it has the best professional municipal management association in New England. I knew that at some point in that career I would want to get to the water. I just thought it would be once my children were off to college. But when this position opened, I didn't hesitate. I knew how rare of an opportunity this was for my family.
Have Questions about Orleans this summer?
You can attend the annual summer meeting with the Select Board on Wednesday, July 19 at 6 PM in the Nauset Room of Town Hall to hear an overview of important issues facing Orleans this summer — and where you can ask questions of board members and heads of departments in attendance.
EXIT 89 is researched and written by journalists and authors Martha Sherrill and Emily Miller. Editing, tech support and infographics are provided by Kazmira Nedeau. The Advisory Board currently includes Lynn Bruneau and Elaine Baird. We are all residents of Orleans.
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