RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday evening for Tax Collector Tom Bourret to take on the position of General Assistance director on a one-year trial basis.

Longtime General Assistance Director Thelma Giberson is retiring. Her last day is Dec. 1.

Bourret offered to take on the position for a stipend of $10,000, which was also approved unanimously by the board. That money will come out of the General Assistance budget.

Bourret told the board, “I’d be happy with a one-year trial, to see how it goes. I feel confident, that with a change in the structure in how we perform General Assistance on a daily basis, then maybe it will be manageable to take on.”

He said Giberson is set to “show me the ropes and then I can take over this thing.”

Town Manager John Madigan said the General Assistance director will change from a full-time position with benefits to a stipend position, which will be a savings to the town.

Bourret said a position has been posted to replace his deputy tax collector. “It’s been reduced to a part-time position, 20 hours with no health insurance,” he said. “The intention of the plan is that the replacement will be assisting with General Assistance clients. It’s going to be a two-person program.”

The board also agreed to purchase a laptop with software that Bourret said he will need to direct General Assistance.

Selectman Mark Belanger said he’s all for Bourret being General Assistance director, but stressed, “I think we need to set some parameters. If we don’t, he’s going to have a tough job getting his work (as tax collector) done.”

When Bourret first presented his proposal, Madigan warned Bourret that working to help people who are in desperate need of assistance is a very tough job. However, he said Bourret insisted that he could do it.

In other business, the board voted 4-1, with Frank DiConzo opposed, to approve a bid of $166,738.50 from Community Energy of Rumford to supply the town’s fuel for the next year.

The bid was about $1,600 more than the lowest of four bids, that of Fabian Oil of Jay.

However, Board of Selectmen Chairman Brad Adley, supported by Selectman Peter Chase, said it’s important to go with a bid from a local business with employees who live locally. Adley said that the difference was less than 1 percent.

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