LIVERMORE — Selectpersons voted 3-2 on Monday night to hire Carrie Castonguay of Jay as the town’s new administrative assistant. They also voted 3-2 to set her salary at $44,200 plus benefits.

Castonguay has 15 years of experience in administration as director of adult education in RSU 36 in Livermore and Livermore Falls, which later merged with Jay to make RSU 73, as well as director of adult education in RSU 61 in Bridgton. Prior to entering the education field, she worked as a legal assistant for a lawyer in Rumford.

At the crux of the mixed vote was the town’s residency clause in the Personnel Policy.

Selectpersons Peter Castonguay and Megan Dion opposed the vote while selectpersons Rod Newman, Tim Kachnovich and Chairman Mark Chretien voted in favor.

The board received 19 applications for the position and chose to interview five candidates.

According to the policy the board adopted in April, the Board of Selectpersons desires that the town employ the most qualified persons who are available at the salary levels being offered for town employment. Among equally qualified candidates, preference will be given to residents of the town, then to those candidates who are willing to establish residency within town limits. Non-residency would not, however, preclude employment.

Kachnovich was not on the board at the time of adoption.

Dion brought up the residency clause prior to the board officially voting to hire Carrie Castonguay.

She had initially favored negotiating with Castonguay at a previous meeting, Dion said, but then the residency clause was brought to her attention.

The board had two equally qualified candidates and should follow the policy, she said.

Kachnovich said they had discussed the residency clause in executive session.

Dion’s father-in-law, resident David Dion, said the town has hired less-qualified candidates in the past because they were residents of the town. He said that people get frustrated when politicians don’t follow the rules, and this was one of those times. He stressed that selectpersons need to follow the policy.

Kachnovich noted that the board had two qualified candidates, and in his opinion, he considered Carrie Castonguay to be the most qualified.

Newman agreed and motioned to hire Castonguay.

An unidentified resident said that the taxpayers deserve to know what the two candidates have for qualifications.

Dion said that the candidate, initially not identified, has a master’s degree, experience in leadership and has done a lot for the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore.

Castonguay is enrolled in a master’s program, Kachnovich said.

“We chose the most qualified candidate,” he said.

Dion said it is unfair to the Livermore resident that the board is not following the policy.

Chretien said he called Maine Municipal Association and was told that the other candidate’s information was discussed in executive session and could not be discussed in public by the board.

Peter Castonguay said that he had a signed piece of paper from the other candidate who said her resume could be discussed in public by the board.

The candidate is not here, he said, because he does not want to get involved.

When it came time to vote, Dion said she could not in good conscience vote for Castonguay because of the policy.

Both Dion and Peter Castonguay told Carrie Castonguay their opposing votes had nothing to do with her.

Town Treasurer Amy Byron said that she also talked to legal counsel and was told that selectmen were opening the town up to a lawsuit if they didn’t follow the policy.

After the meeting, Peter Castonguay revealed that it was Mary Castonguay, his sister, who had been the other qualified candidate.

Carrie Castonguay, whose husband, Roland, is a fourth cousin to Peter and Mary Castonguay, agreed to accept the job.

The 100-mile trip to Bridgton and back to Jay was taking its toll, she said. She saw the opening and applied for the position.

Many of her skills are transferable to her new position, she said.

Castonguay will start Aug. 18.

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