PERU — The Board of Selectmen and residents Monday discussed the possibility of splitting the town clerk/tax collector/treasurer position into two positions.

Near the end of the board meeting, Selectman John Witherell raised the issue, saying, “It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about that, and I know it was something that was up for discussion in the past. We never returned to it.

“I have an article that’s ready to go on a warrant,” he said. “I think it’s something important for us to discuss. Every time our auditor looks at the town, he says we don’t have any checks and balances.”

Witherell turned to Town Clerk Vera Parent, who is also tax collector and treasurer, and asked, “Does that pretty much cover it?”

“If you say so,” Parent said.

“I’m not trying to pick on you,” Witherell said. “We need to start thinking now about what we’re going to do with the position, and how we’re going to do it.”

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Witherell pointed out that since Parent was re-elected to a three-year term in June, any changes would not take effect until her term ends.

Selectman Jim Pulsifer suggested the board discuss it next year when they’re setting the budget.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t start looking at options,” Witherell said. “We should start looking at as many options as possible.”

Parent said if the board “really wants to separate the positions,” they should “consider splitting the tax collector position from the treasurer position.”

“That’s where your checks and balances are going to come from,” she said. “If you split the treasurer and town clerk position, that’s not going to change anything.”

Parent added, “Even though I cover those three positions, me and (Secretary) Angela (Barkhouse) split up some of the work. That way, I’m not collecting the money, and also putting the money in the books. That’s where your checks and balances come from.”

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“Yeah, but that’s not a part of Angela’s job description, is it?” Witherell asked.

Pulsifer said Parent and Barkhouse can divvy up work however they wish once they’ve been elected.

Resident Dawna Kazregis said selectmen should place an article in the November warrant asking residents if they wish the split the positions.

Pulsifer said selectmen could just as easily place the article on the June 2016 ballot.

Parent agreed.

“You’re going to have a bigger turnout if you hold it in June,” she said. “There’s not really anything happening this November.”

The Board of Selectmen agreed to discuss later how to split the positions after Parent’s term ends.

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