BYRON — A lack of firm policies and procedures has resulted in a town whose books have not been audited since 2013, and whose employees’ undocumented work hours result in paychecks that are unsigned.

The Byron Board of Selectpersons met Monday morning to discuss these problems and suggest changes to how the town operates and, in some cases, does not adhere to state law.

After two new selectpersons, James Ramey and Linda Joyal, were elected at the annual town meeting in March, they learned that the town had not had an audit since 2013.

“I questioned to see the audits, and the last one I could find was 2012, but we did actually have one in 2013, as well,” Joyal said. “I found through meeting statutes that we’re required to do them every year, so here we are trying to catch up.”

Chairwoman Anne Simmons-Edmunds, who has been a board member since 2008, said it was due to a “lack of attention to detail,” and that the auditing firm they had been using was “getting a little pricey.” She said she had asked the town clerk, Allison Freeman, who was not at Monday’s meeting, to shop around for other auditors, but it must have “gotten lost in the shuffle.”

“Not everyone has the luxury of being retired and a selectman,” said Edmunds, who also works as a full-time Dixfield police officer, and is the animal control officer for several towns.

“But you know what’s really shameful, is that apparently there are several people in the public that knew this wasn’t happening and never bothered to bring it to anyone’s attention. I find that disturbing and shameful. This is supposed to be small community that helps each other out, but apparently that’s not the case.”

That being said, Edmunds said she is taking full responsibility.

“In the end, if you make a mistake, it’s your mistake to own,” she said.

RHR Smith & Company of Buxton, which conducted previous audits for the town, will do one this week. That audit reportedly began Monday.

The board also agreed to meet at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, beginning April 24. This schedule will allow Freeman to take notes and meeting minutes as required in her job description, Ramey said.

Simmons-Edmunds had been doing so since she was elected in 2008, but no meeting notes were kept before that.

Selectpersons also discussed new policies for hourly employees.

Ramey said the town had not been keeping track of the hours worked, and they had just bought a punch clock to record hours. He said paychecks had been sent to employees without being signed by selectpersons, and that that shortcoming is being addressed, too.

In a related matter, the town will post a job opening for public works foreman.

Chris Edmunds has resigned as foreman, citing “attacks, belittling and micromanagement.”

Edmunds, the husband of board Chairwoman Simmons-Edmunds, was hired in October 2017 after the town’s first choice was not medically cleared to do the job, Anne Simmons-Edmunds said.

There were six candidates, and Anne Simmons-Edmunds said selectmen picked their top three choices. Because Chris Edmunds was the second choice, he was given the job, she said.

Resident Melissa Ramey said the other candidates were not interviewed for reconsideration after the first choice did not accept the position.

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