NORWAY — The Board of Selectmen decided at its Oct. 6 meeting to begin looking at ways to mitigate any interruptions from the retirement of department heads over the next three years, including reviewing other forms of government.

The discussion was prompted by the announcement that assessor Phinn Walker would be leaving his position in the near future.

Town Manager David Holt said Walker “is looking to do something else,” but is “not in a hurry to leave.”

“He wants to help the town make a transition,” Holt said. “What we’ll do in the meantime is look for alternatives. If nobody comes forward in the next week or two, I’ll run an advertisement. The last time we advertised, though, the response was not great, in terms of the number of people responding.”

Selectman Thomas Curtis pointed out that Walker’s departure is one of several that are expected over the next “two or three years” as officers become eligible for retirement.

These officers include Holt, Police Chief Rob Federico, Fire Chief Dennis Yates, Town Clerk Shirley Boyce, Recreation Director Deb Partridge, Highway Department Foreman Jim Tibbetts and Finance Director Carol Millett.


“I think it’s a good idea to start working on some sort of a program where we sit down and start looking at how we’re going to fill these positions,” Curtis said. “We can’t just kick the can down the road. Three years is not a long period of time.”

Holt asked Curtis what the Board of Selectmen had for suggestions, in terms of where to begin preparing.

“Everyone who is looking to exit is exceedingly important to the town, and because they’re all important, it makes it more difficult to allocate time and resources to one person over another,” Curtis said. “We have to prepare one position at a time.”

Later in the meeting, Holt told the board it could be beneficial to look at alternative forms of town government as a way of adjusting to the exodus of department heads.

“In my years of working as a town manager, I’ve worked for several types of government, and I know what the towns have to do when they change the form,” Holt said. “If the board wants to have that conversation, I know a little something about it. If you’re content with the way things are done, then you should continue to do it that way.”

Curtis suggested selectmen “do some research on different types of town government” and begin discussing the topic at their Nov. 3 meeting.

Holt said he would begin organizing some information for the board in advance of the Nov. 3 meeting.

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