TRURO — After heaping praise on Darrin Tangeman, 46, a former Green Beret with municipal and medical experience, the select board on Sept. 22 unanimously picked him to be the next town manager.
The board members described the Kansas native’s attributes in glowing terms. He will be hired pending contract negotiations that should take place in the next two weeks. The choice of Tangeman comes after two rounds of executive searches, and after the town’s first choice, Robert Wood of Texas, dropped out over failed salary and benefit negotiations.
“It’s sort of exhausting when someone checks so many boxes,” said Robert Weinstein, the select board chair, of Tangeman.
Weinstein particularly liked Tangeman’s medical experience. His resume states he was in the U.S. Army Medical Reserves Corps, managed a hospital information technology department, an emergency management system, and an ambulance service, and established the first telemedicine system in Afghanistan in 2002 while in the military.
Select board member Jan Worthington raved about him.
“He’s a leader, a people person, he’s a researcher, he builds bridges, he forms consensus,” Worthington said. “He’s an honest, ethical, engaging person and I think he’ll reach out in ways that we cannot even think of. He’s good on the budget and he’s good on the environment and he’s good on housing,” she said. “He checked almost every box I could see.”
Tangeman is married and has two teenage daughters. He is currently the city manager of Woodland Park, a Colorado town of about 8,200 people. Before that, he was chief administrative officer of Pueblo West, Colo., since 2015.
Prior to entering local government, Tangeman served 22 years in the military, the last 11 years as a Green Beret.
He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and master’s degrees in three areas: public administration, from the University of Colorado at Denver; public and security policy analysis, from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.; and business administration from the University of Kansas.
“Darrin seems like a real human being,” said select board member Sue Areson. “He’s not at all on a soap box and he listens and he is flexible.”
Tangeman was introduced to the Cape while he attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for a senior executive course in 2018, he said during a community forum on Sept. 18.
“My family came with me, and we enjoyed the area and the history … and the beauty of the environment within the Cape,” he said.
He said he was intrigued by the complexity of Truro, with its affordable housing challenges and the conflict between the year-round and seasonal residents.
“A mentor told me to select a job for the community, not the job itself,” he said.
Truro resident Ellen Anthony asked him on Friday during an online community forum how he would address the polarization that is dividing year-rounders and nonresident taxpayers.
“You have to be very deliberate in allowing them [nonresidents] to have a voice,” Tangeman said. “And use social media surveys to ensure representative feedback from both sides of the issue. That’s how I would approach it.”
Asked how a military man can switch to run a town, Tangeman explained that there is a misperception about the military style being autocratic.
“In the special forces,” he said, “we prided ourselves on being social diplomats and culturally literate. That’s what I bring. We provided resources to those trying to solve the problems.” It was not about “barking orders,” he said.
If negotiations work out, Tangeman’s hiring will end a process that has gone on for months since Rae Ann Palmer, the current town manager, announced her retirement in the fall. She attended her final regular select board meeting on Sept. 22.
Paul Wisotzky, chair of the town manager screening committee, said Tangeman seems like a great candidate “and so fingers crossed.”