By Bill Kirk
---- — DRACUT — Steve Bucuzzo — Andover’s assistant town manager since June 2001 — has been named the town manager of Dracut.
Bucuzzo, 49, was picked on a 4-0 vote by the Dracut Board of Selectmen during a meeting last night. He will succeed Dennis Piendak, who is retiring in November after 26 years on the job.
In an emailed statement, Bucuzzo said he was honored to have been chosen.
“I am very pleased to hear that the Dracut Selectmen have named me to be their next Town Manager,” he said. “I know they are placing a great deal of trust and faith in me. Dennis Piendak is leaving some big shoes to fill. But I think I am ready and well prepared to take over the helm there.
“I have learned much during my tenure in Andover, and look forward to using my knowledge and experience to help Dracut move forward as well. I plan on working hard each and every day to meet the high expectations of the Selectmen and citizens of Dracut. For now though, I’ll just enjoy the moment, and start thinking about how best to facilitate a smooth transition between communities.”
Bucuzzo, who earned $124,590 in Andover last year, lives in Haverhill with his wife Lynette and stepson. He was one of four finalists for the job.
Town Manager Reginald ‘Buzz’ Stapczynski said he was happy for Bucuzzo, with whom he has worked for the past 12 years.
“I’m excited for him and his family,” Stapczynski said. “He’s ready for it. He’s well-trained, has a great background and great experience. He’ll step up and help lead the community of Dracut.”
Before coming to Andover, Bucuzzo had served as town administrator in Rockport. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University, and a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
After graduating from college, he worked as Budget & Management Assistant for Wellesley. He is a Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Army Airborne Infantry.
In Andover, Selectmen praised Bucuzzo for the work he did on the annual budget as well as on the town’s website.
“He’s done a lot of the financial work for us,” said Selectman Brian Major, who worked with Bucuzzo since he joined the town in 2011. “He understands how to put the financial package together for the budget process each year and he’s done a lot of work from the web perspective.”
Stapczynski agreed, saying that Bucuzzo was an advocate of transparency in government, and was responsible for putting scores of documents online for taxpayers and the public to view.
“He really put us on the map in e-govermnent,” Stapczynski said. “The whole transparency movement was due to him, putting up every possible report, document and budget presentation. Our website may not be flashy, but it’s deep and rich in content. I thank Steve for pulling that together.”
Selectman Dan Kowalski said the expected departure of the assistant town manager will give Stapczynski an opportunity to look at the organization of town government and whether some things need to change.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, too, to allow Buzz to look at the organization of the town and potentially reorganize,” he said. “Buzz has 18 direct reports right now, maybe that will change. I personally think that’s too many.”
An appointment to replace Bucuzzo will be made by Stapczynski, subject to approval from Selectmen.
Selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli, who worked with Bucuzzo for nine years, said he was happy for him.
“It’s a good fit for Steve and a good fit for Dracut,” he said. “He’s a Merrimack Valley resident and he understands the Merrimack Valley. He’s done a lot here in Andover in all facets of the town. He’ll do fine with selectmen. He has a real solid understanding of selectmen, strong town manager, and an open, involved town government.”
The appointment by Dracut is subject to Bucuzzo negotiating a contract and a start date. The Dracut Board of Selectmen were expected to meet in executive session last night to discuss contract negotiations.
More on this story in next week’s Andover Townsman.