PEPPERELL -- Lori Blanchard was appointed Pepperell's newest town accountant Monday. She was chosen by selectmen from two finalists that interviewed with the board last week.
"We were fortunate to have a couple of good candidates, so you had competition, but in the end we all agreed that you were the best fit for the town of Pepperell, and we hope Pepperell is the right fit for you," Selectman Michael Green said. "We're looking forward to a new era in our accounting department."
Blanchard previously worked for three municipal governments. She worked as a part-time treasurer, and later as part-time accountant in Royalston. She also worked for Orange and Maynard as a full-time accountant. Blanchard now works as accountant for Harvard Forest, an outdoor classroom program affiliated with Harvard University.
She will replace Gene Ferrari, who left the job in March to work for Gardner.
Although a start date for her employment hasn't been set, Blanchard said she is looking forward to beginning work. Her first step, she said, will be relationship-building within Town Hall.
"I'm very pleased and excited to get started and see what I can do to help," Blanchard said. "I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and figuring out how things run here and start meeting deadlines."
"I'm looking forward to being part of the team and being able to help," she said. "They definitely need some consistency, someone to make their finances stable and get the reports and numbers that they need."
Despite the possibility of a 5 percent cut to the town's operational budget unless a Proposition 2 1/2 override is passed, Blanchard said she is prepared to deal with whatever financial challenges come the town's way.
"I'm used to it. Sadly, it's like that in many cities and towns," she said.
While working in Orange, Blanchard oversaw 20 percent budget cuts while the town had no town administrator. That experience, Green said, was one of the major factors in Blanchard being offered the job.
"What really made me think you were the right person for the job was when you talked about the town of Orange, when you had the 20 percent cuts with no town administrator. That you made it through makes me think highly of you," Green said.
After reviewing a group of about 10 applicants, selectmen interviewed Blanchard and David Nalchajian, the town accountant in Holliston. Nalchajian had stressed his IT background and experience working for three town governments in his interview.
Blanchard's hiring is contingent upon a background check and contract negotiations, selectmen said. Her appointment is for a three-year term.
Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.