WELLFLEET — Town Administrator Dan Hoort announced Friday that he is resigning from his job after four years, effective June 30.
Hoort, a Provincetown innkeeper, holds a degree in accounting and was the head of the municipal finance department for the town of Provincetown before coming to Wellfleet in 2016.
“It has been my pleasure to serve as town administrator and I appreciate the confidence you have shown in me,” Hoort, 65, wrote in a letter to the select board dated Jan. 10. “There are times when this position can be very demanding and negative. At this time in my life I need to reduce the stress in my daily life. I believe it is time for me to step down and let another individual assume the position.”
His letter stated he would continue to work hard through June and offered to continue on the job three days a week or under another part-time arrangement if no one has been hired by July 1.
He told the Independent he had no further comment.
The move was not totally surprising, said Select Board Member Kathleen Bacon, who had announced just three days earlier that she would not run for re-election. He had been a finalist for the job of Brewster town administrator last year. The select board did give him a new contract in 2019 and a raise. It went into effect July 1.
Hoort’s salary started at $115,000 in 2016 and went to $140,000 in 2019.
Hoort and his partner have operated the Somerset House Inn in Provincetown since 2005. Before that he was the director of finance and administration for the American Massage Therapy Association for 10 years.
The demands and stress that Hoort referred to in his resignation letter took a variety of sometimes intense forms. In August 2017, erosion and the loss of valuable ocean beach parking became impossible to ignore when a swath of the Cahoon Hollow Beach parking lot next to the Wellfleet Beachcomber collapsed during a torrential rainstorm, taking a parked car with it. The first fatal shark attack in recent Massachusetts history occurred at Newcomb Hollow Beach in September 2018.
In 2019 Hoort became embroiled in controversy when an anonymous donor offered $1 million toward the town’s proposed purchase of commercial shellfish flats off Indian Neck. After a freedom of information request by Edward Miller, then associate editor of the Provincetown Banner, the state ordered Hoort to release the donor’s name: Select Board Member Helen Miranda Wilson.
Wilson had been a prominent public proponent of the purchase. Hoort was one of the few people who knew Wilson was the donor, yet he allowed her to participate in deliberation and voting on the matter. Once her name became public, town counsel advised the select board and Hoort that the state’s conflict of interest law barred her from any participation in the purchase, now completed.
Hoort’s greatest accomplishment has been helping to secure funding for the badly needed dredging of Wellfleet Harbor, said Select Board Member Justina Carlson.
In March the town learned that $5 million was in the 2020 budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the federal channel in Wellfleet Harbor. The $20 million project that will ultimately be completed with state, local, and federal funds is long overdue.
“I’m very sorry to see him go,” said Chair Janet Reinhart of the select board. “It’s a very tough position but he got a lot accomplished. Although he had a great dredge committee, he really helped push that forward.”
“He was fantastic to serve with,” said Carlson. “He’s very hard working and fair and hasn’t forgotten the fine art of the beautifully written email. He handled many complicated issues and then took the time to explain them thoroughly. I think structurally we ask a lot of our select board and town administrators. It’s a hard job and it requires broad shoulders. I think Dan has done a tremendous job.”
Hoort’s decision means that both Wellfleet and Truro will be looking for new administrators this spring. Truro Town Manager Rae Ann Palmer announced in October that she would be leaving at the end of her current contract on June 30.