Reflections on a 30-Year Friendship with Rick Reed

By Robert Dorer

Town Manager Rick Reed introduced Fr. Sheehan to Lexington’s Town Manager Carl Valente during the reception after Fr. Sheehan’s retirement Mass

Four traits that come to mind immediately when my wife Sarah and I think of Rick Reed are detail-oriented, thorough, deliberative, and kind.

We have known Rick since his arrival in Bedford in the summer of 1988.  Sarah first met him shortly after the start of his tenure as Town Administrator (later the position was changed to Town Manager).   The encounter was memorable as Rick’s white shirt was covered in blue ink from a leaky pen.  Rick just laughed at himself and the situation.  Sarah was delighted to learn that the Reeds had two children exactly the same ages as ours.  Thus began our 30-year professional and personal relationship with Rick.

I quickly got to know Rick as I was on the Planning Board when he arrived and we had many significant developments occur during that early period of his time in Bedford.     Over the years, between town government and town life outside of Town Hall, I have gotten to know Rick quite well.  Both our sons were in Scout Troop 114 and we participated in many events including fun trips to places like Bear Island in Lake Winnipesaukee and Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain.  Those scouting days have many pleasant memories of early morning coffee around the campfire and seeing our two sons (Patrick and Jamie), with Mike Buttrick, son of the then Scout Master, John Buttrick, become the best of buddies.  All three ended up having their Eagle presentations at a combined event (they had named themselves the three condiments; ketchup, mustard, and relish).   I also have had the honor over the years of witnessing Rick’s true dedication to Red Sox Nation through the opportunity to share one of his season ticket seat openings for a game, often in late summer, a great time to experience Fenway and Rick’s in-depth Red Sox knowledge.

I have watched Rick provide solid counsel during a wide variety of meetings in town related to my work on the Planning Board, Library Trustees, Cultural Council, and Transportation Advisory Committee, especially when it came to well-founded and guided policy-related decisions.   I also witnessed his keen attention to detail when hiring staff in key positions for our town.   When you consider the highly qualified people he has helped the town recruit and hire over the years for DPW Directors, Police Chiefs, and Fire Chiefs, among many others, it is impressive.

In all the years I saw Rick in action as Town Manager I never once saw him lose his cool, he always presented a professional air that helped put Bedford in high regard relative to all the towns in our immediate vicinity as well as in our wider region.    Although I do not know all the details I do know he was also a player in state, national, and international circles when it comes to sharing his strong body of knowledge on best practices in local government operations.  His vision in helping to create the Middlesex 3 Coalition is but one example.  And, of course, we all know Rick as part of an extensive finance team (manager and committee) that is largely responsible for the excellent credit rating Bedford has been able to achieve and maintain.     I will miss Rick as a steady hand in our town’s operations but look forward to his continued presence in our town as an informed and committed town citizen.

Other stories in The Citizen’s series about Rick Reed:

John Linz’s look back at Rick Reed’s 30-Year Career in Bedford

Joanna Nickerson’s memories of working with Rick Reed


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