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Mendon Ponders Funding for Town Coordinator’s Position

Members of Mendon's Town Coordinator Role Committee came before the Board of Selectmen to talk about the future of the now vacant Town Coordinator's position. The discussion took place during an August 27 meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Committee members Joe Cronin, Claudia Cataldo, and Shirley Smith provided the Board with a new job description for the position to which the Board stated they were pleased with what had been drafted.

Mendon has been without a Town Coordinator for more than a year after former Town Coordinator Dale Pleau was laid off. Police and Fire Chief Ernie Horn has been volunteering as the Interim Town Coordinator since September 2011 but stated at a July Board meeting that he will not continue with the interim job beyond the current Fiscal Year.

In addition to the job description, the discussion also involved how the position will be funded. According to Finance Committee Chair Rich Schofield, the salary is estimated to be approximately $75,000 to $80,000 per year.

The Committee presented the Board two possible scenarios to fund the position; one being an override and the other would have the funding come out of the general operating budget. Should the Board move forward with an override, Cronin believed it could be brought to voters as soon as November with the assumption the position would be filled by the start of the new Fiscal Year on July 1, 2013. After funding is secured, it will take months to advertise for the position, search for and interview qualified candidates, and then eventually hire someone.

Selectman Mike Ammendolia stated his unease with the override scenario. "We can't have a Proposition 2 ½ Override to fill a position," he said.

Schofield, who was in attendance at the meeting, told the Board that they need to begin with the assumption of an override first before trying to finance it out of the operating budget.

Selectmen Mike Goddard stated he would rather be aggressive initially and then "pull back if we need to...We don't really have any operational excess." The Board plans to continue talks on the funding at future meetings.

According to Town Coordinator Role Committee member Cronin, when the position is eventually filled, it will actually help save the town money as operations of the Town Hall will run much more effectively.

In related news, the Committee is also bringing forward an article at the September 25 Special Town Meeting that would change the title of the position from Town Coordinator to Town Administrator if passed.

The Special Town Meeting will take place at Miscoe Hill School and begin at 7 p.m. In total, 11 articles are on the warrant.


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