Town administrator closes out his career in Dartmouth

Feb 14, 2018

After close to nine years as Dartmouth’s Town Administrator, David Cressman is retiring from his post on February 16 to spend more time with his family.

Dartmouth Week sat down with Cressman during his final week at his post in between several meetings he had scheduled to chat about his career and retirement plans.

What first drew you to Dartmouth?

One of the things that attracted me about the town is that I always wanted to work in a community that is a coastal community and a community with a college and university. Dartmouth provided me with both of those opportunities.

What were you focused on throughout your tenure?

The Select Board [members] gave me a focus on alternative energy. They were focused on wind, and I went along with it for a while until I was able to work with staff and disprove the economic value of wind versus solar, and that solar is more valuable and less controversial.

The other thing that was really clear is they wanted me to run the town in terms of its finances so that we improved our previous financial condition. I think I’ve achieved that with the triple-A bond rating, and we got that again reaffirmed. I believe they also wanted me to address some of the capital projects and needs of the community, which I think have been addressed.

I think the final thing they were looking for was for us to address some of the issues like getting the Lincoln Park project moving forward.

[A bond rating serves similar to a credit report and rating for the town.]

About solar… where does Dartmouth stand now?

There was really very little solar energy when I arrived here, and now we lead the commonwealth in solar energy. The technology there is 8 solar farms, 37.7 megawatts.

When did retirement come to mind?

My family was the driving force with my relocation and retirement. I want to spend more time with them. When I was done with a Select Board meeting [last year] I had to drive to the North Shore in response to a medical incident. That really drove it home. Getting through Boston in that timeframe is difficult.

What will you miss the most about Dartmouth?

I am going to miss the community. I’ve found it’s a wonderful place to live. You have the agricultural areas, and you have great proximity to retail outlets and medical services. Plus you have the university that provides opportunities to the community.

What about your career?

When I think of my job, I think of it as closing a chapter of my career which took place in Dartmouth. What I’ll miss there is the opportunity to complete six capital projects I am working on right now. The police station, the North Dartmouth Library, the maritime center, Town Hall window replacements, the Apponagansett Park pavilion, and the Round Hill Beach bath houses.

What’s next in your retirement?

That’s the part that is pretty much undefined right now except for the fact that I’m moving. I’ve been really focused so much on completing work here and moving that I really have not focused on what I’m going to do once I retire. In the next two weeks I will have moved and at that point then I can start to figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I’m not sure if I’m going to do some interim work in local government, consulting work in local government, or see if I can find some employment in the private sector.