Town of Hanover is struggling to find employees

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/28/2022 9:10:36 PM
Modified: 8/28/2022 9:06:56 PM

HANOVER – Real world impacts are being seen in Hanover from the worsening staffing shortages being felt throughout the region.

The town has canceled its annual Fall Fest event usually held in late September and the town has also notified parents that it has had to cancel its after school program for kids in grades third through fifth grade due to a lack of staff. The town hopes to restart the after school program if staff can be found, possibly as soon as October.

Town Manager Alex Torpey told the town Selectboard on Monday that staff shortages were making it hard for the Parks and Recreation Department to plan and hold its normal slate of annual events.

Torpey said that in talking with department heads, it is estimated that the town staff spends 150 to 180 hours preparing the event.

That’s more than a month of a full-time staffer.

And the town has Home for the Holidays coming up just after that.

“We felt that not stretching ourselves too thin was a priority,” Torpey said. “We wanted to do fewer things well rather than more things not well.”

The board agreed Fall Fest was a better choice to cancel.

Board member Bill Geraghty told Torpey Home for the Holidays is a bigger event and shouldn’t be cut.

“It’s an uplifting event,” Geraghty said. “It’s really joyous. You made the right choice. I agree with your decision.”

Hanover, like towns throughout the Upper Valley, is struggling to find employees.

Torpey said the town is short, close to a dozen employees right now and a lot of it comes down to housing.

“We’ll have someone interested in a position and then they can’t find housing or can’t find childcare,” Torpey said.

He said employees have to live far away to afford housing and they’re finding work closer to where they live.

Torpey said, like many area towns, the staffing issues are greatest in public works, parks and recreation, police and fire.

Another program affected by the staffing crises is the after-school program.

John Sherman, director of Parks and Recreation

When Sherman answered the phone, he said he was the only person in the community center.

Sherman said he is short three employees, after hiring one last week.

The after-school program finished last school year with parent volunteers to keep it going. And starting this school year he can’t find the season staff needed for the program that attracts 130 kids.

“We need 13 to 15 staffers and right now we have five full time and two seasonal staff,” Sherman said.

Eighty of those kids are in the kindergarten through second-grade program. He doesn’t have staff to run the third- through fifth-grade program.

“We can’t run the program safely,” Sherman said. “And we have a huge waiting list.”

Torpey said the town is going to conduct a compensation survey and is looking at ways to attract younger workers, which are not pursuing jobs in government the way their parents and grandparents did.

“In the shorter term we’re doing a salary study and looking at a couple of things related to compensation and benefits,” Torpey said, adding that they’re analyzing their benefits package with an eye at attracting younger workers with options like remote work, flex time, education benefits and other options.

“Maybe we can offer some things we don’t offer currently,” Torpey said. “Not just for recruiting but retaining existing staff.”

Darren Marcy can be reached at or 603-727-3216.


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