Buckfield to draft manager duties


BUCKFIELD — Following a two-hour public hearing Thursday night, Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Eileen Hotham said the board might present a draft of duties and a potential advertisement for a town manager at its meeting Tuesday.

“We’ll discuss it on the 21st and there could be a draft, then finalize it at the following meeting,” she said.

The study of whether to change how the town is managed is the result of the resignation of longtime Town Manager Glenn Holmes, who left for another position last month.

The board held the hearing to determine whether townspeople want a full-time or part-time town manager, or perhaps some other position, such as an administrative assistant.

About 20 people attended.

“I’d like to see the town manager position maintained. We do need a man in charge, whether it’s for five or three days,” Road Committee member Jerry Wiley said.

Gene Coffman, a longtime resident, said having a town manager has been good since the position was created in 1968.

“We still need a full-time manager,” he said.

Interim Town Manager Dana Lee said state statistics show that only seven towns of 40 surveyed with populations of 2,000 to 3,500 have administrative assistants. Thirty-three have town managers.

Buckfield’s population is 1,904, according to the latest edition of the Maine Municipal Directory.

There is also a question of whether additional help is needed in the Public Works Department. The department has two full-time people and one part-time person.

Lee said the positions of town manager and road commissioner could be combined, so the town could advertise for a full-time Public Works laborer/operator.

“We’ll see what the applicant pool is,” he said.

The town manager also serves as health officer, code enforcement officer, General Assistance administrator, emergency management director, tree warden and several other part-time duties.

Resident Vivian Wadas asked which jobs could be removed and who would do them.

“Have you looked at each hat?” she asked. “You don’t have to hire a road commissioner. You could hire someone part time as needed.”

She wanted to see the board come up with additional options.

Resident Judy Berg said she did not believe a full-time manager is needed.

“We need someone hands-on on the roads. It’s the largest expense, except for the schools,” she said.

The timeline for getting a new person on board will likely be pushed back until mid- to late spring.