NEW GLOUCESTER – Selectmen voted 3-2 Monday to reduce the bookkeeper’s position to part time and hire a part-time financial director for six months starting Jan. 2.

The changes were discussed in executive session before the vote.

Supporting the move were Chairman Steve Libby, Linda Chase and Nat Berry IV. Opposed were Josh McHenry and Mark Stevens.

Bookkeeper/Deputy Treasurer Sandy Sacco, a 25-year town employee, will see her job go from a 40-hour workweek with full benefits to a 24-hour workweek with no benefits. The benefits include health insurance, vacation and sick time.

“Why wasn’t I told or asked to go to the meeting?” Sacco asked Tuesday night. She said she learned about the change that afternoon.

“Sumner submitted a memo to the board that stimulated the executive session,” Libby said. He said the session was legal because it concerned employment, assessment and duties of employees. Attorney Matt Tarasevich of Bernstein Shur of Portland attended the session.

McHenry said he is concerned about cutting the bookkeeper’s hours.

“This (decision) increases the risk to the town,” he said, because it is in the process of hiring a new manager and needs a full-time bookkeeper.

As for creating a financial director, McHenry said the town is facing added financial duties that include billing for the new ambulance transport service, billing for the new public water system and changing banks when a new town manager is hired.

Libby said he didn’t know if Field, who is retiring Jan. 2, would be a candidate for interim finance director, but he has experience in that area.

“Sumner is an expert in accounting,” he said. “He spends a lot so time overseeing the town’s finances. We won’t have the oversight so the board wants an interim finance director. This will give the new town manager flexibility.”

The position would be paid for with savings from the bookkeeper’s position and the the administrative account, Libby said.

He said Wednesday that the deadline for applications for town manager is Nov. 12. Maine Municipal Association is managing the search.

“MMA will send us a copy of each resume and MMA will review and pull out the ones that will be qualified, Libby said. The board will review the applications Nov. 21 and interviews will be scheduled.


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