Bernard F. Lynch – Founder/Managing 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.

Sharon Flaherty – Principal 

Ms. Flaherty has assisted in the management of nearly 100 executive recruitments in addition to working on such projects  as compensation and classification, business development marketing, community engagement, and communications. Ms. Flaherty has more than 30 years of experience in communications, project management, public relations, and marketing. She has extensive experience in personnel screening and hiring, personnel management, and community relations. In previous positions, Ms. Flaherty has managed marketing and communications in the financial industry and held positions as a reporter, editor, and editorial page editor at both daily and weekly newspapers. She 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, Quincy College, 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.

Our Team


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



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.

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.

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.

Joshua Weitz – Research Associate 

Mr. Weitz is a fifth-year PhD candidate in comparative politics and international relations in the department of political science at Brown University. His research interests concern topics broadly related to international and comparative political economy, with a specific focus on political parties, business organizations, organizational theory, strategy, and evolutionary theory in the United States and Germany. He has a forthcoming co-authored monograph on the impact of industrial restructuring and corporate financialization on the historical development of African-American middle class in the United States since the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Mr. Weitz is also a Research Associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the City University of New York School of Professional Studies and a Master of Arts from Brown University.

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.  

Carl Valente – Senior Associate 

Mr. Valente has 40 years of State and local government experience including 35 years in Massachusetts. He was the first Town Administrator for the Town of Needham, the first Town Manager for the Town of Weston, and served for 13 years as Lexington's Town Manager from which he retired. He also served as Section Chief for Technical Assistance for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue-Division of Local Services and as Director of Financial Management for the International City/County Management Association. He specialized in municipal finance issues. He earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Hartford and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. He currently is a member of the Solid Waste Commission for the City of Newton.

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.