BUCKFIELD — Longtime employee Cindy Dunn was named as town manager Tuesday night, a position which could merge the role with the town clerk’s. It is the second time Dunn has held the job.

Her pay and job responsibilities have not been set.

Dunn, the Town Clerk, has also been acting as Interim Town Manager since Feb. 1, when Dana Lee resigned to take the same position in Eliot.

Employed with Buckfield since 1983, Dunn first worked as a clerk before she was hired as town manager in the 1990’s, a position she held for a decade which also combined the clerk’s and town manager’s role.

She stepped down as town manager in 2001 to again become clerk, a change brought on by her belief she wasn’t able to help a growing community ‘move forward’.

Selectmen unanimously agreed to hire Dunn at their March 4 meeting. Dunn is Buckfield’s third town manager in three years, following Lee and Glen Holmes.

Lee’s departure served as the impetus for reconsidering whether the town needs a full-time manager, or whether the role can be merged with that of the town clerk.

Selectmen briefly considered different options, including moving the position to part-time, or eliminating it altogether.

As early as Feb. 11, Chairman Warren Wright indicated his intention to hire Dunn, advocating the move would save the town money by eliminating one of the positions in the town office by merging the two jobs. At two town meetings in following weeks, Wright reiterated his view that it would be unlikely to find a more experienced candidate.

Last week, they voted to hire an undetermined candidate from within the town’s pool of employees.

‘I’ve done a lot of thinking about it,’ Chairman Warren Wright said Tuesday night.

The idea has not come without skepticism. Residents said it was too much work, while others worried about checks and balances.

At a workshop earlier this month, selectwoman Martha Catevenis said despite the long hours Dunn puts in – up to 14 by her own admission – there were simply too many tasks for one person to do.

Resident David Knox told selectmen he respected Dunn, but worried ‘the same person writing the check is going to sign it.’

‘Cindy has her heart in the town, but I’m concerned,’ Knox said.

Selectmen have not determined what, if any, additional roles Dunn will assume, what her pay will be, or how long the the contract will be for. Lee’s final salary was $49,000.

For over an hour, the two sides negotiated privately in executive session, but were unable to come to an agreement. Following the meeting, Catevenis said were ‘close’.

If contract negotiations fail selectmen will advertise for the position, Catevenis said.

As it currently stands, the town manager acts as the Road Commissioner, Tree Warden, General Assistance Director, Civil Emergency Preparedness Director, Health Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, and Public Access Officer.

The town clerk operates as the Treasurer, Tax and Excise Tax Collector, Bookkeeper, Payroll Clerk, Registrar of Voters, Assessor Assistant, Motor Vehicle Registration Agent, Watercraft-ATV-Snowmobile Registration Agency, and IF&W Agent.

Buckfield, with 2009 residents of census taken in 2010, is in the planning stages of construction on a $1 million Fire-Rescue Station, whose committee Dunn is chairman.


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