Bye, For Now, To Eli Boling On Select Board


After nine years on the Board of Selectmen (now called the “Select Board”), with two rounds serving as chairman, Eli Boling is stepping away this month from local civic life.  

Boling’s tenure has been marked by an almost metronomic style of steadiness, even during periods of remarkable challenges that include finalization of the town’s comprehensive Master Plan, managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, navigating a 40B housing development application, and preparing the next generation of leadership of the board.

Involvement with town service began back in 2013 when he volunteered for the Select Board’s Public Safety Dispatch Committee.  It was the same year Greg Federspiel began his job as Manchester Town Administrator.  

“It has been an honor to work alongside Eli,” said Federspiel.  “I will miss his sound decision making and his good counsel.”

Boling has seen a lot in nine years— countless initiatives and projects and milestones and controversies, working with fellow board members, other committees and town staff.  

This was never more apparent than when the town faced COVID-19 in 2020.  As chair, he oversaw the legalities and workings of a town-wide state of emergency, shutdowns and quarantine policies, public testing and vaccination programs and Board of Health reporting.    All of it with a steady hand in dealing with the public’s questions, often unanswerable by anyone.  All of it by looking to a day when the worst of the pandemic would be behind us all.

Administration for any municipality can be complicated by myriad state and federal requirements and mandates, which can make many people bristle.  But Boling said running a town with a significant budget and balancing long and short term, expensive initiatives (like replacing the water and sewer system, or installing LED street lighting) has aways been a challenge.  Getting everyone on the same page can be slow.  Financing and management can be complicated.  Getting to “yes” (or “not right now”) can sometimes contentious.  But, Boling said, it’s also rewarding, and worth it in the end.

“Some things get done quickly - but many things take much longer than one might expect or hope because of the combination of state and federal laws and requirements, the timing of budget seasons, and a slew of other dependencies,” he said.  The key to success?  “Clean communication between the town and residents.”  That’s something he hopes will continue to be a priority.

At Monday’s Annual Town Meeting, more than 300 residents applauded Boling as he was presented with a ceremonial retirement chair, his wife Penny coming up to the stage to offer a kiss and a hug, relieved to reclaim her husband’s time after his years tireless service to the town.  

greg federspiel, board of selectmen, eli boling, board of health