Thanks, Watertown: Belmont Fills Top IT Post; DPW Welcomes Familiar Faces To New Jobs

Photo: Apple Macintosh 128k computer, January 1984, by Bernard Gotfryd (credit: Library of Congress)

Belmont didn’t need to physically go far to fill its new top IT post.

Watertown’s Chief Information Officer Christopher McClure will be moving just 2 1/2 miles as he becomes Belmont’s new IT Director. His starting date is Aug. 12.

For the past 23 years, McClure has been working in the information technology and services industry with a background in Computer Forensics, IT Strategy, Web Design, Spiceworks, and Management.

“What Chris is really good at doing is building IT departments,” Patrice Garvin, Belmont town adminstrator, told the Select Board. “He’s done it in multiple communities. And we’re really excited to have him come on and start to build the IT department here.”

McClure received his Bachelor’s Degree from UMass Lowell. Before arriving in Watertown in 2020, McClure was the Information Technology Director in North Andover and IT Director in Hopkinton, Westford, and Norfolk.

The town’s IT Department has had significant departures this year. In the spring, the department was down to one full-time and a half-time position. The short staffing nearly derailed the town’s conducting of a fully remote Special Town Meeting in late June. 

The town’s Information Technology Department has been a subject of growing interest by town officials regarding the protection of data it holds and the system from computer crime. The most frequent of these criminal activities facing municipalities is ransomware, which WIRE Magazine called “the defining cybercrime of the past decade, with criminals targeting a wide range of victims, including hospitals, schools, and governments.”

The criminal gangs – many from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia – will encrypt critical data, “bringing the victim’s operation to a grinding halt and then extorting them with the threat of releasing sensitive information,” according to WIRE.

In other hiring news, the town didn’t have to leave Town Hall to fill an important post. The Department of Public Works ended 2023 having lost three critical positions due to retirements including the business manager. That job has been filled by the town’s Budget Analyst Matt Haskell.

“We’re very excited about [Haskell taking the position],” said Garvin. “He’s very much in tune with the budget. And I’ve already heard he’s doing a lot of innovative changes within the DPW. So it’s a seamless transition.”

A second internal promotion was annouced as Mark Mancuso, currently the Water Operations Division Manager, will now move into the Assistant DPW director position.

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