Cites mentors, women leadership and projects such as Linden Square as highlights of her Wellesley career
Wellesley Assistant Executive Director Meghan Jop, who has spent the past 16 years working for the town, is leaving at the end of October for a new job as Deputy Town Manager in North Andover. We’ve appreciated all that Meghan’s done for the town and for all the help she’s given to us over the years with Swellesley. I shot her a handful of questions to answer before she heads off…
Where are you going, and why?
I am going to North Andover to be the Deputy Town Manager. North Andover is close to my home in Tewksbury. Working in North Andover will introduce me to a Town Manager form of government, eliminate my long commute and allow me more time with my family. My three sons are more active in extracurricular activities and sports and my husband can only be in one place at a time – although many a nights I am working he magically makes it to 2 or 3.
How long have you worked for the town, and can you run me through your jobs?
I started with the Town a little over 16 years ago as the Town Planner fresh out of graduate school. I saw Wellesley was hiring, and put in. The rest is history. I was in Planning for 11 years in total and have been a planner, Assistant Planning Director, Planning Director (4 years), and then moved upstairs to the Deputy Executive Director of General Gov’t Services. The title was changed 2 years ago to Assistant Executive Director – but have been in the Selectmen’s office for just over 5 years.
What’s something about working at Town Hall that most residents would be surprised by?
I don’t think people would be surprised, but the people working for the Town are, simply put, amazing. We have staff that are leaders in their fields. The expertise that resides in Town Hall, DPW, Schools, Library, MLP, Facilities, Police and Fire is exceptional. I have learned something new every single day for the past 16 years from the people that work here. I have also truly been fortunate to work with exceptional elected and appointed officials and have enjoyed meeting many residents. One thing also worth noting is many communities do not have the type of woman leadership found in Wellesley. The women I have worked with over the years, particularly in Planning and the Board of Selectmen, have had a tremendous impact on me and all have taken time to answer any question I have had on work, life, politics, career ambitions, or balancing family.
I have learned something new every single day for the past 16 years from the people that work here.
Aside from dealing with us, what’s been the highlight?
I am proud of so many projects. I am proud of my role in the Linden Square Development, which was a huge project for the Town and really reshaped Linden Street. I am also proud of 900 Worcester Street, which was a 12-year project of planning studies and committees before becoming a realization. Work on acquiring the North 40 was great as well. That was a time-sensitive project, so it proved Wellesley can move fast when it needs to. That was a tremendous learning experience with Hans Larsen, Dave Murphy, and Don McCauley. The Town facilities were good projects as well: High School, Tolles Parsons Center, DPW and MLP buildings.
I didn’t envy your many nights at meetings and don’t know if it will be more of the same where you are headed. But what’s been the toughest part of working for the town?
North Andover is a very centralized form of government, so there should be less meetings, but you never know! For me, the toughest part for working for the Town is the night meetings, mostly because I cannot go home in between due to my commute. There are MANY meetings! Myself and the Planning Director (which also used to be me years ago, so I have never had relief) probably attend the most night meetings of all the staff. The good news is that night meetings are where the staff sees action on all their hard work. The behind-the-scenes work from all of the various departments gets to interact with citizen discussion and elected/appointed officials. It is government in action, which is fantastic to see. I encourage residents to be a part of these meetings, because it is where they can make a difference in their Town.
Anything else worth noting?
I have loved working here. It has been a pleasure to work for the residents and to work with the team here. I have made lifelong friendships with many of my co-workers and many residents. I was fortunate to have two mentors while working here: Rick Brown (retired Planning Director) and Hans Larsen, who each inspired and influenced me and my career in very positive and different directions. I am a better person for knowing and working with Rick and Hans, who are two of the truest gentlemen you will ever find.