Wolcott officials are inching toward filling the void left when longtime assistant town clerk Belinda Clegg was fired nearly three months ago.
Town Clerk Linda Martin is conducting interviews to hire a new assistant, and the Wolcott Select Board has finalized the job description for a new position of Wolcott town administrator.
Martin received half a dozen applications for assistant town clerk; she hopes to present a candidate to the select board Wednesday, June 5.
The select board doesn’t make the final decision on who Martin’s next assistant will be, she said – that power lies solely with her, as the town clerk. But the board does have input on pay and benefits for the job.
Under state law, a town clerk has the authority to approve or revoke the appointment of his or her assistant. Martin did just that in March, revoking Clegg’s appointment the day before Town Meeting Day.
Clegg had told Martin she planned to run against her for town clerk, but lost by a wide margin on March 5.
With the job description finished for Wolcott’s first town administrator, the board now has to figure out how to pay the person. There’s no money in the budget for that, so the select board will likely hold a special town meeting and town vote in August.
If the town gets lucky, a surplus may be available from the budget that runs through June 30.
“One of the reasons they want to wait till August is to see where things end up with a budget surplus. We’re hoping to have one,” said Duncan Hastings, a special adviser Wolcott hired to help find a town administrator. Hastings helped Cambridge through the same process last year, and was the municipal manager for the towns of Johnson and Georgia for decades.
Clegg’s firing revealed an immediate need for someone to work with the board and handle aspects of governance that Martin and Clegg had taken on over the years.
“My understanding is the board doesn’t need permission to create the position, but depending on the funding, they could need to ask voters for more money,” Martin said.
The August vote could also ask voters to tap a reserve fund for money, and limit the size of the request for new money.
None of that’s final, though.
“We’re looking at the funding to see what’s available,” said Eric Furs, chair of the Wolcott Select Board.
Once they’re hired, Wolcott’s new assistant town clerk and town administrator will work a combined total of about 72 hours a week. The administrator will likely be salaried and work 40 hours per week; the assistant town clerk will work 32 hours per week.
Martin also works 32 hours a week; since March, the Wolcott town clerk’s office has been closed on Fridays.