WEST PARIS – Selectmen appointed a five-member search committee for a town manager Thursday, along with two alternates.

Full members are Jim Johnston, Sheila Delamater, Sandra Poland, Rick Swain and Selectman Mary Waterhouse-Spear. Alternates are Dennis Henderson and Ted Jones.

The committee is charged with conducting advertising for the position, reviewing applications, researching background information on applicants, and coming up with a recommended candidate prior to the March town meeting of 2004.

Voters approved switching to a town manager form of government and establishing a search committee at the March 1 town meeting.

A date for the first meeting of the committee has not been set.

In other business, selectmen voted unanimously to increase the hourly wage for transfer station attendant David Billings from $7.25 to $8.25.

Billings has worked as station attendant for the past 14 years, missed only two days during that time and has not had a raise during those years. Selectmen said he deserved more money and probably should have had one long ago.

“Employees wages should be looked at every year to bring things up-to-date with the times,” Waterhouse-Spear said.

The rest of the board agreed, and employee wages will be analyzed next spring to see how they compare to other towns of comparable size.

Several residents asked questions regarding a special audit being done regarding discrepancies found in the books from 2002 in a preliminary audit earlier this year.

Chairman Harlan Abbott said, “Upon the recommendation of our attorney I am not going to answer any questions until the audit is done. Then we’ll make all results available to the public.”

Deputy Town Clerk Jane Littlehale said attorney Geoff Hole advised her that “answering questions now might compromise the ongoing audit.”

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