Want to hang out with this guy? Because you can.


Submitted 4 months ago
Created by
Mark Travis

Town Manager Herb Durfee will be hanging out on the Norwich Grandstand Wednesday, Sept. 5, from noon to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., hoping you'll come by to talk. 

He calls it a "Cracker Barrel session," and he's hoping to do them periodically going forward. 

"The root of it is just taking the concept of the potbelly stove in the general store, where they sat on cracker barrels and just talked about things," he said. 

It's a practice he started in Fairhaven, a stop on his professional path before coming to Norwich. Sometimes he'd focus the session on a specific topic -- he's done that once in Norwich, on the Church Street sidewalk and safety around the Marion Cross School -- and other times it's general, such as Wednesday's.

In Fairhaven he'd typically get six to 10 visitors. But not always. 

"There were times honestly that I would sit there and I would learn to bring a folder of work with me, because sometimes people wouldn’t show up at all," he said.

It's not like he's generally hard to find -- he's right there on the second level of Tracy Hall -- but the sessions get him out in the community to listen. And when it works, it works.

"There’s always a number of people that have personal agendas," he said, "but there’s never been a level of discourse that was above a normal discussion -- never been big huge argument or wanting to string me up type thing. It’s always been either a personal agenda or something they wanted some clarity on."

So: He'll be at the Grandstand Wednesday, ready to listen.

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