BUCKFIELD— Selectmen will hold a workshop to discuss the possibility of changing the town manager’s job description prior to beginning the search for a candidate.
The changes could include merging positions or reducing the job from full-time to part-time.
The vacancy comes as former Town Manager Dana Lee resigned in January in order to take a job in Eliot. Since Lee’s move, Town Clerk Cindy Dunn has been hired as Interim Town Manager until the role can be filled permanently.
Selectmen are seeking to define the job’s parameters before hiring their new chief executive, a search process which could involve promoting from within the current pool of municipal employees or hiring from outside the town.
Lee’s departure has served as the impetus for reconsidering whether the town needs a full-time manager, or whether the role can be merged with that of the town clerk.
In addition to to serving as the chief executive of the town, a policy outlining the Town Manager’s job description lists their duties as Road Commissioner, Tree Warden, General Assistance Director, Civil Emergency Preparedness Director, Health Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, Public Access Officer.
Chairman Warren Wright said Tuesday that he’d like to convince Dunn to except the role permanently in addition to her duties as clerk and save the town money.
“My feeling is…if we could coerce Cindy to take the job as Town Manager and Town Clerk. We’ll get out of it a lot cheaper and you’ve got somebody that’s been here since she was 12 years old. That’s my course right now,” Wright said.
Dunn, as Town Clerk, also serves as the Treasurer, Tax and Excise Tax Collector, Bookkeeper, Payroll Clerk, Registrar of Voters, Assessor Assistant, Motor Vehicle Registration Agent, Watercraft-ATV-Snowmobile Registration Agency, and IF&W Agent.
A motion by Selectwoman Martha Catevenis to hold a public hearing to solicit residents’ input into how the town should be governed – including scrapping the Town Manger form of government in favor of other models – was voted down.
Wright said that the other models of municipal government placed the daily decision making process in the hands of selectmen, a task he felt was unfeasible.
In light of past difficulties attracting candidates, resident Michelle Casey told selectmen the town needed to explore additional forms of government.
“It would be great if Cindy would just step in because she knows this town, but what if she doesn’t want to do it? How are we going to find somebody to come in here part-time? It won’t be a savings if she decides not to because I think you’re going to have a really hard time finding a part-time Town Manger,” Casey said.
Wright suggested the town might find a retiree to work part-time or a recent college graduate.
Selectmen will hold the workshop on Feb. 17 at 6:30. at the Town Office. According to selectmen, the session isn’t open to public input, but residents wishing to make suggestions may submit them in writing or email at the town office.