Bernard F. Lynch – Founder/Principal

Bernard F. Lynch has devoted more than 30 years to guiding cities and towns toward brighter futures by focusing on the efficiency and responsiveness of organizational day-to-day operations as well as highly transformational initiatives that bring communities to a new level. His experience as an innovator, strategist, educator, researcher, and leader allow him to consider challenges from various viewpoints. Known for his collaborative problem-solving and innovative solutions, Mr. Lynch steered a Massachusetts city away from potential receivership to solid fiscal stability. He has managed the successful conception and completion of public libraries, police stations, community centers, school buildings, bicycle and walking trails, and recreation facilities.

Our Team


If you would like to take a moment to learn more about our wonderful team, you can find out more below.

John Petrin – Senior Associate 

Mr. Petrin has dedicated more than 30 years to municipal service, including seven years as the Town Administrator of Burlington, seven years as the Town Manager of Ashland, and 13 years as the Town Administrator of Harvard. He has extensive experience in developing operating and capital budgets, hiring and managing department heads and other personnel, and managing the day-to-day operations of a municipality. Additionally, Mr. Petrin served as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Marlborough, as Tax Assessor in Bellingham, and as an elected Park Commissioner in Bellingham. He has served on numerous professional boards, including the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and Joint Labor Management Committee, and is a former President of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and of the Massachusetts Municipal Managers Association. Mr. Petrin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stonehill College and a Master of Public Administration from Northeastern University.

Sharon Flaherty – Senior Associate 

Ms. Flaherty has more than 30 years of experience in communications, public relations, media relations, project management, digital and traditional marketing, and brand management. She has held positions as a reporter, editor, and editorial page editor at both daily and weekly newspapers, and managed marketing and communications in the financial industry. She has extensive experience in personnel screening and hiring, personnel management, and community relations. Ms. Flaherty served as an adjunct instructor in the business department at Middlesex Community College and has been a guest speaker at such educational institutions as Northeastern University, Rivier University, and University of Massachusetts Lowell. She serves as a member of the Plymouth Cultural Council. Ms. Flaherty holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Rivier University, a Master of Arts in English and Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Rivier University.

Sam Gonyea – Associate

Mr. Gonyea, a candidate for a Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration at Suffolk University, specializes in contract law, budgeting, and research. He previously worked as an intern at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, as a law clerk at a Boston law firm, and as an intern to the Honorable Richard Tucker at Massachusetts Superior Court. Mr. Gonyea also served as a member of the Clinton Housing Authority Board of Directors. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Fitchburg State University.



Community Paradigm Associates has affiliations with numerous highly experienced industry professionals who assist with various projects. We have a network that includes professionals in such areas as finance, public works, telecommunications, land use and development, public safety, emergency management, municipal law and process, personnel management, and sustainability. Each is an experienced and proven leader in his or her field.

Peter Hechenbleikner – Senior Associate 

Mr. Hechenbleikner has 45 years of local government experience including over 30 years in Massachusetts. Retired from Reading, Mass., in 2013 as the Town’s first Town Manager, Mr. Hechenbleikner has continued his commitment to local government service by serving in a number of interim assignments. He has also done several consulting projects (paid and pro bono) since his retirement. During his long career, Mr. Hechenbleikner has specialized in general management, community development, capital planning, communications, and form of government. In addition to his full-time jobs and part-time consulting, Mr. Hechenbleikner has served in many volunteer roles in support of the municipal management profession. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Administration; received a Certificate in International Studies from the University of Manchester, England; and earned his Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.  

Ray Santilli – Senior Associate 

Mr. Santilli has nearly 40 years of experience working in the municipal sector, including 17 years as the Assistant Town Manager in North Andover, Mass. Mr. Santilli also served as a purchasing director, director of community services, and human resources director in North Andover, and as Planning/Budget/Personnel Director for the Cambridge Police Department. He earned his Master of Business Administration from Boston College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University.

Mr. Lynch served as City Manager of Lowell, Massachusetts, for eight years and as Town Manager of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, for 20 years. He serves on Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito's Task Force on Local Government Workforce Skills Gap, is a Senior Fellow at Suffolk University's Moakley Center for Public Management , and serves as an adjunct professor at both Suffolk University and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has taught classes in government fiscal policy, state and local finance, public administration, public policy and administration, urban politics, state and local politics, strategic leadership, civic innovation and civic engagement, legislative politics, and political analysis. Mr. Lynch has served on and moderated numerous professional panels, including those focused on forms of local government, civic engagement, and urban planning and development. He has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Clark University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has spoken on such issues as sustainability, urban design, succession planning, and urban economic development.


For 25 years, he has served 
on, and is a past chairman of, the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Fiscal Policy Committee. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Innovation Academy Charter School in Tyngsboro. Mr. Lynch earned his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Lowell.