BUCKFIELD — Selectmen signed a threeyear contract with Town Manager Cindy Dunn that merges the job with the town clerk’s.

Under the contract, Dunn will serve in the dual Town Manager and Town Clerk Role until March 2017. Her annual salary is $60,000.

In addition to the Town Manager’s responsibilities as the Road Commissioner, Tree Warden, General Assistance Director, Civil Emergency Preparedness Director, Health Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, and Public Access Officer, Dunn will also take on the Town Clerk’s duties 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.

A provision within the contract allows selectmen to appoint, hire, or contract any of the duties elsewhere if they deem it necessary and adjust Dunn’s salary accordingly.

Buckfield reduces payroll costs in the deal – one major incentive to selectmen – by merging the roles. The total combined salary for the Town Clerk and Manager was $82,385, and the town will save roughly $22,000 a year.

Selectmen’s decision was not unanimous. After an executive session discussion, Martha Catevenis voted against the contract, with Chairman Warren Wright and Cheryl Coffman approving it.

After the meeting, Catevenis reiterated concerns that the role was simply too much work for one person.

‘I think by lumping all of the responsibilities together the jobs’ too overloaded,’ Catevenis said.

Two weeks ago selectmen unanimously hired Dunn as Town Manager, which she had been acting as on an interim basis since Feb. 1, when Dana Lee resigned to take the same position in Eliot.

Dunn is Buckfield’s third manager in as many years, following Lee and Western Maine Economic Development Council Director Glen Holmes.

Lee’s departure provided the impetus for selectmen to reconsider whether the town needed a full-time manager, or whether the position could be cut back to part time, or eliminated altogether.

Employed with Buckfield since 1983, Dunn first worked as Town Clerk before she was hired to manage Buckfield 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 town clerk, a change brought on by her belief she wasn’t able to help a growing community ‘move forward’.

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.

About a month ago, selectmen voted to hire an undetermined candidate from within the town’s pool of employees.

The idea has not come without skepticism. At a public hearing on issue, residents said the merger 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.

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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