Tuesday August 27, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The Select Board unanimously voted to reinstate a defunct assistant town manager position, however the job will fall to an existing town employee on top of his or her regular duties.

"Designation of authority"

"It’s designed to be a designation of authority, not a new position," said Town Manager Stuart Hurd.

The position used to be full time until 2000, when its holder left. Hurd said he decided to save money by not filling it and spread the assistant’s duties over three existing employees. Hurd said the new assistant manager will not take on those duties again, but instead will familiarize themselves with the budget as well as contractual negotiations and legal discussions. This will be so the assistant can act in his stead when he is indisposed. He said the position was never abolished, but he would like it to carry the weight of the board’s blessing.

Hurd said he has chosen a person to hold the title, but will announce them at a later date.

Board Chairman Joseph Krawczyk suggested the assistant also partake in the collaborative meetings the board has been having with local school boards and the Southwestern Vermont Supervisory Union. Those meetings have been held to better improve communication between groups that affect tax rates.

Hurd said the salary of the employee chosen will increase slightly over the next three years. He feels the position is needed now, given the town’s dealings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), union negotiations, and the increasingly complex budgeting process.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.