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Selectmen Set Treasurer Hiring Schedule; Discuss HR Function

The Board of Selectmen plans to appoint a new Town Treasurer by March 31, according to a schedule approved at the board's January 6 meeting. The schedule, drawn up by Town Administrator Richard Villani, calls for applications to be due to Town Hall by February 28, with Villani and Town Counsel Gerald Moody submitting the names of finalists for the position to selectmen by March 10.

The position has been filled on an acting basis by Assistant Treasurer Kelly Capece since Barbara Auger resigned last June to become the Treasurer/Collector for the city of Taunton. Town Meeting Members last fall approved requesting special state legislation to change the position from an elected to an appointed one.

In discussing the hiring schedule, the full board agreed with Selectman Brian Murray's request to shorten it by a week, as the original schedule had called for applications to be received by March 7. Murray disagreed with his colleagues on a change in the job description, feeling that requiring a Master's degree for the position would limit the board having "maximum flexibility" in choosing a candidate.

Chairman William Buckley, who wanted the higher degree included in the job description for the Town Treasurer's position, suggested a change to require either the Master's degree or prior experience as a Town Treasurer as a requirement and, by a 2-1 vote, Selectman Dino DeBartolomeis agreed with him.

DeBartolomeis also advocated for exploring whether – with the town's operating budget nearing $90 million each year – it made sense for Villani to research hiring a dedicated Human Resources professional to manage the various personnel-related functions now scattered across many town departments. "In some areas, we're still parochial," he noted. His goal would be to see if it would be advantageous for the town to have the Human Resources function more centralized. If you "make employees better and well-informed," he said, you get "a better-served public."

"I agree with you," said Buckley, saying Human Resources functions were being handled like "patchwork," much the same way information technology was.

Murray disagreed with the idea, saying it was not clear to him what DeBartolomeis wanted researched. He also accused his two colleagues of wanting to expand government's function. "Are we going to be committing ourselves to more government?" Murray asked. "I think we're making some assumptions here that may not be accurate."

"I just don't like the piecemeal approach," DeBartolomeis said. "I think it can only make the town better."

The board also discussed information received from Town Planner Larry Dunkin and Moody about preserving the former Consigli property on Dilla St. – now owned by the town – as permanent open space. Dunkin's memo to the board suggested consolidating the area's 200 acres – including Louisa Lake and the Town Forest – owned by the town and having an outside agency like the Trustees of Reservations hold a permanent conservation restriction on the land.

No action was taken, and Dunkin was asked to provide selectmen with additional information on the costs associated with such a move.




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