Chesterville to appoint new treasurer, town clerk, health officer

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CHESTERVILLE — Selectmen Thursday night voted not to renew Olive Couture’s appointment as treasurer.      

Vice Chairman Tiffany Estabrook Friday afternoon said Erin Norton, treasurer of Starks and New Sharon, has been hired as interim treasurer through the end of May. She will be in the office 12 hours on Thursdays and part of the day on Mondays.

Estabrook said the selectmen hope to hire someone by the end of April. They wanted to allow time, if needed, for the transition. 

Couture was hired two years ago. She had bookkeeping experience but never received mentoring for the treasurer’s position, Estabrook had said previously. 

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Couture said Saturday she had an idea she wouldn’t be reappointed, based on her last employee review, but she was never directly told of the decision. The review was held while Guy Iverson was still a selectman and chairman, before Edward Hastings IV and Ross Clair became part of the board. 

“Nothing specific was said prior to the announcement in Thursday’s meeting,” Couture said.

She said she would be coming in on Monday to return keys and explain where things are to Norton and Jenness to help the transition go smoother.

“It was a pleasure to serve the citizens of Chesterville,” Couture said. “I hope they will continue to help the new board move forward.”

On Friday, Deputy Town Clerk Patricia Gordon and full-time highway worker James Richards gave their notices, effective immediately.

Selectman Chairman Tyler Jenness Saturday said applications for the positions of treasurer and town clerk are due April 20 so they can be reviewed at the board meeting that night.

He said applications for a building at the Transfer Station and mowing of cemeteries and town areas are due April 26 and will be reviewed April 27. The opening on the Highway Department will also be discussed then, Jenness said.

Estabrook said some potential applicants may not have heard about the town clerk opening. Several have been submitted, but the board wanted to post the position to give all qualified applicants a chance. 

Estabrook and Jenness are writing a new job description for the clerk position. Serving as secretary to the selectmen is one suggested change, she said.

Jenness said Couture was not reappointed due to circumstances that had come up in the past year or so.

Auditor Ron Smith of RHR Smith & Co. gave recommendations to the board on Thursday.

“Smith said the town’s bank account and checkbook had not been reconciled in over a year,” Jenness said. 

He said the town clerk position is the critical one now. Pamela Griswold was appointed through the end of April after previous town clerk Heather Wheeler resigned. 

“The town clerk and treasurer are a key part of the town,” Jenness said. “They carry the board through every year.” 

He said the board also voted not to renew Razell Ward’s appointment as health officer. She has moved and Hastings is working on filling the position.

In other business, the board voted to review accounts with taxes owed since 2010 or before. 

“We’re looking to act on properties, not homes,” Estabrook said.

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