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Hooksett human resources coordinator heading to Milton

HOOKSETT - A 24-year veteran of Hooksett's town administration will see her last day in town hall this week, having been hired to serve as Milton's town administrator.

Hooksett human resources coordinator Elizabeth Dionne will serve her last day in Hooksett Friday before assuming the role of Milton town administrator Monday.

"I think it's a great opportunity for her," said Hooksett town administrator Dr. Dean Shankle. "She knows how towns work, and what needs to be done, and the fact that she's moving on to become a town administrator in another town is a great thing ... I know they're looking for somebody who can bring stability, help them get things organized, put processes and procedures in place, and that's what she's good at."

Dionne has been an employee with the town of Hooksett since Aug. 7, 1989, spending most of that time as assistant town administrator until the position was changed to human resources coordinator in 2005. After 24 years, her tenure has seen immense changes.

"I've seen a lot of growth in the town over the years, a lot of good things have happened. A lot of changes over the years," she said.

The short list includes the town government moving into the new town hall, the rebuilding of fire station 1, the moving of the highway department, a succession of town administrators, the discovery of a "time capsule" inside the walls of the old town hall during renovations, and the July 7, 1997, grand opening of the town's public safety center complex on Legends Drive, an event which Dionne says is a particularly fond memory.

"It was really something to be proud of, to be witness to and to be a part of," she said.

The two-plus decades were not without other accomplishments. One Dionne remembers fondly is a problem involving beavers along the Merrimack eating the inside of tree bark, causing the trees to fall and create a hazard for power lines, residents, and homeowners. The default response would have been to hire an exterminator. Dionne was a part of a group that decided to go another route.

"The youth services director, myself, and the parks and rec superintendent at the time, rather than trap the beavers or having them killed by professional hunters, (we) wrapped the trees with chicken wire to prevent them from chewing the trees; that way it saves the trees, ends the hazards, and the beavers simply move on."

Dionne said she had been considering moving on to a town administrator's position for about two years. The moment, having finally come, is bittersweet for her.

"It's going to be very sad to leave Hooksett," she said. "I've been here for almost 24 years. It's like a second family to me. I've met so many people over the years. Residents, business owners, board and committee members, and they've all been wonderful to me. That's sad for me. It's going to be a little difficult for me to move on. I'll miss the people the most."

"One the other hand, I'm excited to be taking this step," she said.

"I'm looking forward to it. Change is kind of scary sometimes, but it's also good."

As she begins that change, however, Dionne is thankful for those who were part of her experiences in Hooksett.

"I just want to thank everyone for everything that you've done for me over the years," she said. "I appreciate it so much. I just want to thank everyone and say that I'll miss everyone and to stay in touch."

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