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Mark Sylvia appointed director of Green Communities Division

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Plymouth Town Manger Mark Sylvia has been chosen to lead the Department of Energy Resources’ new Green Communities Division.

Created by the Green Communities Act, passed last summer, the division will support clean energy efforts in Massachusetts cities and towns, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Sylvia will be responsible for creating a plan for helping cities and towns cut their energy costs and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

Sylvia’s division will also oversee the Green Communities grant program, which is expected to launch in early 2009, a couple of months behind schedule. The program will provide financial support to communities that make extraordinary efforts to “green” their municipal operations.

An official in Plymouth town government for more than a decade, Sylvia has held the position of town manager since 2005, overseeing an annual budget of $141 million in one of the state’s fastest-growing communities.

Working closely with Plymouth’s volunteer Energy Committee, Sylvia has led numerous efforts over the past two years in support of the Plymouth 2020 Plan, an initiative that sets ambitious energy independence targets, including a goal to run all municipal buildings with renewable energy by the town’s 400th anniversary in 12 years.

Other Plymouth 2020 projects include a pilot fuel-efficient vehicle program, siting two wind turbines at the town-owned wastewater treatment plant, and plans for solar photovoltaic panels at the town’s solid waste transfer stations.

Sylvia will officially begin his new job on Feb. 10, but he is tentatively scheduled to attend a green communities workshop at the MMA Annual Meeting on Jan. 23.