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Mendon Continues to Deliberate Position’s Funding

Once again, funding a Town Administrator's position was a topic of discussion among the Mendon Board of Selectmen and members of the Finance Committee. The discussion took place during a June 4 meeting.

In May, residents voted down a Proposition 2 ½ override to fund a Town Administrator's position for $110,000 annually. Mendon has been without such a position since Dale Pleau was laid off in 2011.

Finance Committee Chair Rich Schofield stated he felt there were four ways in which the town could fund the $110,000 salary. One such thought would be to cut department budgets. Another idea would be to bring forward another override to residents but make certain voters had a better understanding of the necessity for the position. "We all failed miserably at that," he said.

A third idea concerned funding that could be utilized from any future regionalization opportunities with other communities; in particular with dispatch. Town officials hope with a new state of the art dispatch center, a third community will be interested in sharing dispatch services again. Mendon lost $80,000 when Hopedale pulled out of a regionalized dispatch agreement with the town. The town still shares dispatch services with Millville.

And finally, Schofield said another thought would be to build the salary into next year's budget.

Several residents in attendance raised questions and concerns about the issue.

Shirley Smith questioned if at least a part-time Town Administrator could be funded until there was money to finance a full time position. However, the Board agreed that due to the responsibility of overseeing a community and the fact that Mendon continues to grow and change, a full-time position was necessary. Selectman Michael Goddard also wanted to make certain whoever is hired wants to stay in the position for the long term. "I don't want this to be a stepping stone for someone," he said.

Resident Anne Mazar questioned if another override was brought forward could the amount be lower and other funding sources be used to supplement the rest of the salary.

Mike Watson reiterated his feelings on how critical the position is to have in place for the community, particularly with such concerns as Milford's casino proposal and a number of other financial issues. Watson said he hoped the Board would address the Town Administrator's position sooner rather than later.

The Board stated they hoped a more definitive plan would be in place by August.


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