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Orange treasurer fills in for town administrator

ORANGE — Town Administrator Diana M. Schindler will be taking a leave of absence for two or three weeks due to illness. The selectmen have decided to have the town treasurer take on some of the administrator’s financial duties during that time.

Creating a financial director position, naming Treasurer Gabriele Voelker to it and having that financial director fill in for the administrator was discussed but ultimately set aside. Instead, Voelker and others will cover for Schindler and discussion of creating a financial director post will resume later, when Schindler is back.

According to Selectmen’s Chairman George C. F. Willard, the town’s lawyer suggested the financial director appointment so that information handled by the town administrator would continue to flow in a timely manner. Willard assured questioning residents that the new position would not cost the town additional money.

After reviewing the job description for the finance director, Co-Chair David B. Ames proposed adopting the change but Selectwoman Kathy Reinig opposed the change because she thought the proposed position’s responsibilities could be delegated to existing staff during Schindler’s absence. Reinig proposed this approach to fill the immediate need and then said the board of selectmen could take time to consider whether the financial director position is in fact necessary.

Ames withdrew the motion to accept the position and agreed that delegation of tasks would be the best route at this time. He said that accountant reports will need to get out, but it’s also the assessors and other department reports that will need to be available in a timely manner. Ames noted that the accountant and treasurer work closely together, but do not do one another’s jobs.

The selectmen voted and approved to have Voelker appointed to handle the major responsibilities in the financial director job description, without the creation of a new position, during Schindler’s absence. The approved motion included 60 days for Schindler to take the responsibilities back upon her return. The board thanked Voelker for her willingness to handle extra duties.

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