Durham's Gara Named Executive Director of COST

Elizabeth Gara succeeds longtime Connecticut Council of Small Towns CEO Bart Russell, who retired Sept. 30.


The Board of Directors of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) has named Durham's Elizabeth "Betsy" Gara to succeed Bart Russell as its new Executive Director. Russell retired on Sept. 30 after 18 years as CEO. 

“Betsy has served with distinction for more than six years as COST’s Public Policy Director”, Russell said. “She has been able to build strong relationships with decision-makers in Hartford, and is highly regarded by legislative leaders, rank and file members of the Connecticut General Assembly and professional staff throughout state government,” he added.

Gara, who also serves on the Regional School District 13 Board of Education, has extensive experience in organizational management, legislative and regulatory policy analysis and advocacy, media relations and membership services. She is a lawyer by training.

Barbara Henry, First Selectman of the Town of Roxbury and President of COST said “We are delighted to have Betsy at the helm and are confident she will continue COST's great tradition of grassroots advocacy on behalf of Connecticut's smaller towns and cities.”

COST was founded in 1975 to provide small towns and cities a strong voice at the state Capitol with policy and budget makers. It represents 115 suburban and rural municipalities under 30,000 in population.

Information for the report was provided in a press release


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