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Mendon Hopes to Fill Town Coordinator’s Position in Future

With the Town Coordinator's position now vacant, the Board of Selectmen began discussing the possibility of filling the vacancy during the next fiscal year. In late June, former Town Coordinator, Dale Pleau, was laid off due to what the Board stated was financial reasons. "I don't think the position can remain empty," said Selectmen Lawney Tinio during an August 22 meeting.

In addition's to Pleau's job elimination, the Board of Selectmen's administrative assistant's position was also cut due to budget shortfalls. As a result, the Conservation Commission's Administrative Clerk Diane Willoughby has been answering the office's phone calls and emails and overseeing other administrative tasks while also managing her other responsibilities. In addition, Assistant Assessor Jean Berthold is taking the minutes during the Board's meetings.

The Board said its goal is to make certain the new Town Coordinator's position is both sustainable and competitive. Pleau's salary was approximately $67,000, however, the Board suggested raising that amount to make the pool of future candidates more competitive, as well as to add to the current job description's responsibilities.

Although the Board would like the position filled as soon as possible, funding it is a problem. "Are we going to lay off another police officer? Shut down a department?" questioned Selectman Mike Ammendolia. There is funding left from Pleau's salary line item. However, nearly one-third of it has been spent due to the severance package he received and his unemployment coverage.

"I'd hope that any money you come across would go toward reinstating police officers," said Police Chief Ernie Horn, who was in attendance during the discussion. The Police Department recently laid off two police officers due to budget cuts.

Officer Brian Massey, who was also in attendance, even offered to volunteer his free time in the Selectmen's office to help with administrative work if the Board would consider using any funding from Pleau's remaining salary to reinstate a police officer. Other residents, including Kevin Rudden and Sharon Cutler, also said they would volunteer on a part-time basis to help out. The Board stated it was not ready to make any immediate decisions on the volunteers offers.

Still, the Board agreed to form a five-person Town Coordinator Search Committee to evaluate the position's responsibilities and research estimates of what a competitive salary would be for the job.

Ammendolia again reminded his colleagues about finding the funding for the position. "We can't advertise for a job without the ability to pay for it," he said.


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