By Brenda Crowell
Upton Town Manager Derek Brindisi has accepted the same position in Plymouth, where he served as Assistant Town Manager for two years before coming to Upton in 2017.
Brindisi’s new appointment in Plymouth is projected to start on March 14. While he’ll be dealing with a much larger population and budget, he’s quick to point out how much he values his time in Upton.
“What means the most to me is meeting at the VFW on Memorial Day and seeing a lot of the veterans there who come in early in the morning to march in the parade or go to the cemetery to pay tribute to all the vets,” Brindisi said. “That means more to me today because a very special friend, Jim Brochu, passed away recently. He would meet all of us with coffee and doughnuts and drinks.”
Brindisi is also grateful for the support he’s received from Upton town government.
“I want all the readers to know that the Board of Selectmen has been very supportive of me over the years,” he added. “Their guidance and leadership have led to my success and the success of the community, so I greatly appreciate everything they have done throughout the course of my career.”
Brindisi lists the Community Center and downtown redevelopment as some of the accomplishments he’s most proud of in Upton.
“We’ve made so many positive gains in my five years in town. It’s put the town in a great position for the future,” he said. “When I started five years ago, there had been two decades of conversation about the library. We made it more broad by bringing the Senior Center into that discussion. Town Meeting decided this was something the town wanted to become a reality. It was definitely a team effort.”
Plymouth is, in square miles (97.57 per the 2010 census), the largest community in Massachusetts. It has about 60,000 residents and works with an operating budget of approximately $260 million.
“It’s a much larger community than Upton, but the fact of the matter is, the process we use in Upton is the same process in Plymouth,” said Brindisi. “How we manage the budget, how we manage finances, expanding the commercial and industrial tax base—I don’t expect much change on those fronts.”
Brindisi’s experience in Upton has helped prepare him for managing a larger town.
“The biggest lesson I learned here was how important board and committee members are to the community,” he said. “If you’re looking across the spectrum of volunteer boards and committees, most people don’t realize how much effort they put into quality of life. They’re not receiving one cent and they put in so much energy. I really value all of our board and committee members.”
Whoever succeeds Brindisi as Upton’s Town Manager will have a hard act to follow, but he has some words of advice.
“First, listen,” he said. “And then continue to not accept business as usual.”