JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors are considering hiring a bus garage mechanic to save money.

In a 7-3 vote Thursday night, with three abstentions, Superintendent Scott Albert was authorized to post and receive applications for the position. The district hopes to save money by having its own mechanic, but if it doesn’t, they plan to continue using Bailey Brothers Ford in Livermore Falls.

“I believe we could save quite a bit of money for the district by having our own mechanic,” Albert said. “Bailey’s just went to $63 per hour. They’ve done a great job. We have to do due diligence, see if there are other ways to save money.

“There is more than $130,000 in the budget (for bus maintenance),” he said. “A person making $30 per hour with benefits would be about $85,000. You’re talking $30,000 to $40,000 savings a year.”

The mechanic must be able to do everything the contracted bus mechanic does now, including state inspections, and preferably hold a bus driver’s license for backup if needed, Albert said.

Tammy Frost asked if Bailey Brothers had been told the district is considering hiring a mechanic. If it can’t find one, Bailey Brothers might pull their contract, she said.

“I echo Tammy’s concerns, ” Director Michael Morrell said. “Having a conversation with Bailey Brothers would be good. I would hope they wouldn’t play games, I’m just nervous.

“Does this include the cost of the bus garage getting tools, all that stuff?” he asked.

“Yes, the first year wouldn’t see much savings,” Albert said.

Director Dale Leblanc asked if the district ever had a bus mechanic and if so, how it worked out.

The district has never had a bus mechanic, Morrell added.

“Jay had one,” Director Lynn Ouellette said, referring to when Jay had its own school department. “When he retired they eliminated the position.”

Voting in favor were Morrell, Doug DiPasquale, Sara Hughes, student representative Scott Jackson, Dale Leblanc and Andrew Sylvester. Opposed were Frost, Steven Langlin and Joel Pike. Abstaining were Lynn Ouellette, Phoebe Pike and Ann Schwab.

Board Chairman Robert Staples voted in favor once all other votes had been cast.

Directors Lenia Coates and student representative Taylor Guay (student representative) were absent.

In other business Albert’s contract was extended three years, with some monetary changes.

The board approved increasing his salary by 2.5% for 2020-21 and 2021-22 and increasing travel reimbursement from $500 to $750 in 2020-21. Salary will be renegotiated in the spring of 2022 for fiscal year 2022-23. All other monetary considerations remain the same.

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