The Selectmen accepted Town Administrator Thomas Webb's retirement letter at Wednesday morning's posted staff meeting.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Town officials will have to search for another town administrator, their third in less than three years.
The Selectmen on Wednesday morning reluctantly accepted the resignation letter of Town Administrator Thomas Webb, who is retiring effective March 3. With vacation and other benefit time, his last day will be Feb. 13.
It's been good working for you," said Webb. "I really do appreciate the fact that the three of you ... you really do look out for the town, not really looking out for your own interests but for the town's interest ... It's not as much of the norm as you'd like it to be."
Webb was hired in May 2012 after two months of searching to replace Michael Canales, now administrative officer for North Adams. The Williamstown resident was in the second round of finalists after an initial search failed to produce candidates.
He had been working in Cheshire for several years as town administrator, and also has experience in public housing development and property management.
Webb said he would be willing to help with the recruitment of his replacement, and possibly stay on in a part-time role until someone can be found. However, it would require a break of 30 days, he believed, to comply with Social Security.
"I've known Tom a long, long time," said Selectwoman Lily Kuzia. "We've worked together, we worked together when he was with the Berkshire Housing for the Senior Center and he knows that, he knows what our relationship is like."
"If it was me, I would want everybody to wish me luck and I'd go ... and if that's what he wants, that's what I agree to."
Selectmen Chairman Carl McKinney said he was sorry to see Webb go, and joked that if they didn't vote to accept the letter he couldn't leave.
"It's been an interesting couple of years," he said, wondering if Webb would have taken the job, "If you knew what you were getting into."
The small town has been struggling financially for a number of years, made more difficult by problems that were uncovered when McKinney said Webb called in the state to review.
"I think that singular decision and request made by you, although it caused a whole lot of turmoil, it is what ultimately is going to set this town on solid financial footing," said McKinney. "I think your years here have been a benefit to the town and it's been a pleasure working with you, too."
Selectman Jeffrey Levanos described working with Webb as "a pleasure," noting they had arrived at almost the same time (Levanos was elected in 2102).
In his letter given to McKinney on Jan. 6, Webb said, "I have enjoyed working with you because of your willingness to work together and with me, as well as your lack of personal agendas. I consider you the best board I've had the good fortune to work with and certainly pleased that the last municipal position I will hold has been with people who care as much as you do about the residents and town you represent."
In other business, the board received a copy of the fiscal 2015 budget from Highway Foreman Kyle Hurlbut that he is also submitting to the Finance Committee.
Traffic was slowed after a one-car accident earlier Wednesday morning on Henderson Road.
Hurlbut said some of the town's equipment is in serious need of repair, including a backhoe that is out of service, and the winter road budget is 90 percent spent, not including overtime. The machine repair account only has $1,000 left but he estimated the backhoe repair at $8,000. There are also issues with a section of the roof on the older part of the town barn, with water leaking onto tools.
The town's roads are in serious need of repair, he said, and in some cases water is pooling across the road because the crowns are worn down or culverts are insufficient. There had been an accident shortly before the meeting at a problem area that had been sanded.
"All these roads need fixing and resurfacing," he said, particularly West Road.
The road crew has worked hard and kept up, said Hurlbut. "They've had a pretty strange and tough winter."
Both McKinney and Kuzia said they had heard compliments about how well the roads have been maintained. McKinney cautioned, him, however, that "we have another tough year on the budget and I know you have budget issues."
Police Chief Michael Williams said his fuel budget was getting low, primarily because the original amount he had requested had not been approved. He estimated he had enough for three months before revisiting the line item.
He and the board also discussed the need to ensure that vacant homes — either those taken by the town or by banks — are properly secured and maintained.