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Conway discusses adding clerical staffer

CONWAY — As the Selectboard searches for a new town administrator, it has decided it will also bring back the administrative aide position.

“We’re going to have an extra clerical staff member aside from the town administrator,” confirmed Selectboard Chairman John O’Rourke during the first joint budget crunching session of the year with the Finance Committee.

The Selectboard is in the process of hiring a new town administrator after its former administrator resigned unexpectedly on Jan. 7.

The hours and salary of the staff member will be determined, O’Rourke said. The Selectboard will create the job description once it hires a town administrator.

O’Rourke said the job “will not be the administrative aide position as it was.”

Finance Committee Chairman Jim Bosman raised the question on Monday, stating “now is the time” to decide whether the town will add an administrative assistant position back onto the town staff.

“I think it makes sense to have someone putting together a town report, doing office work and filing. We don’t have to pay someone $50,000 a year for that,” Bosman said in a phone conversation.

The town originally only had an administrative aide, Tom Spiro, until townspeople voted in May to create a full-time town administrator position.

Spiro was laid off on Nov. 26 when then-new and now former administrator, Ed MacDonald, began his job. MacDonald cited an overlap of job responsibilities.

After MacDonald quit with less than two months on the job, he was not heard from again until he surprised the Selectboard with two complaints of Open Meeting Law violations and demand for payment against the board.

It would be exactly one year after the townspeople authorized the Selectboard to hire a full-time administrator. At the annual town meeting in May, the townspeople authorized $70,000 to pay for the administrator’s salary and benefits. But at the same time, the townspeople also authorized $46,391 to cover Spiro’s salary and budget until May 2013.

Bosman said there could be a surplus in the budget from money that would have gone to Spiro’s salary if he worked for the entire year.

What would happen to the aide when the town brought on the town administrator was a problem the town didn’t figure out.

“I was surprised. No one had explained what would happen. It was left in limbo,” Bosman said.

The town currently does not have any administrative help as it searches for a new town adminstrator, a position which would be filled by March.

Town Treasurer Jan Warner and Selectman Rick Bean have stepped up to help complete administrative work in the meantime.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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