The newly constituted Board of Selectmen meets with interim Town Administrator Debra Choquette to discuss advertising for the administrative post.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The newly constituted Board of Selectman decided on Tuesday night to re-advertise for the vacant town administrator position because of a lack of applicants.
As of now, the selectmen have four applicants for the position through advertising on the Massachusetts Municipal Administration website. The board felt it would be better to try advertising in local media in attempt to attract more, and local, applicants.
"I would like to advertise locally because there may be people not specific to this kind of work but who would be qualified and capable," Selectwoman Linda Reardon said.
With little money in the budget, the board can only afford up to $800 in advertisements.
"I know we don't have any money, but we have to find a way to do this," Selectman Jeffery Levanos said. "… We have to get a town administrator; it is ridiculous and has been too long."
The town has been without a full-time administrative leaders since the retirement of Thomas Webb in February. Administrative Assistant Debra Choquette was appointed as interim, a post she has held in the past.
The loss of a third board member — when then-Chairman Carl McKinney stepped down to apply for the post — created a standoff between the two remaining members on whom to hire. The search was put off more than a month ago until a third member could be elected to the board.
Reardon and William Schrade Jr. were elected last week.
The selectmen said they may need to approach the Finance Committee for the funding; the committee has a small fund it can use for emergency situations. The board would like to place the ad in local media by next week.
If they do not receive more applicants, Schrade said it may be beneficial reduce the amount of hours the job requires, while keeping the salary the same to make the position more attractive.
The selectmen agreed, however, that it would best to try to hire a full-time town administrator before they compromise the position.
"I think it wouldn't hurt to try one more time, and I think the way it was done originally was incorrect," Levanos said.
The selectmen also decided to allow the Department of Public Works to repair a falling-down wall in the cemetery to save money.
Three contractors gave quotes for the job, but the selectmen felt they could take care of the maintenance in-house for about $7,000. This is less than half of the price some of the contractors quoted.
With another wall is showing signs of decay in the cemetery, the board felt it was more important to save money. Plus an engineer may have to survey the other wall and that would be more costly.
"I think we have no choice but to be creative and taking $19,000 out would be bad when we may have repair other things," Schrade said. "I rather save that money for the second wall … and on a practical level I think it is the right thing to do at this moment.”
The $7,000 for the repairs will go on the town meeting warrant.
The Selectmen also reorganized and chose Levanos to be the new chairman. Levanos is the only remaining member from the prior board and is chairman of the School Committee.
Schrade was appointed as vice chairman and Reardon as the secretary.