Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


September 12, 2013

Finance staff raises debate

Selectmen, officials at odds over hires


In a separate interview Tuesday, Lyman said, “I felt like (Major) was trying to bully me. I’m not throwing $75,000 in taxpayers’ money out without examining it. People are saying to me, ‘Only Andover would hire a secretary for $55,000.’ We need to get back in line, and the town manager needs to be working with us. Monday night felt like a real struggle.”

The board voted 4-1 in favor of hiring Christine Barraford for the position. Lyman was the lone opposition vote.

“There are a lot of resources going into that office,” Lyman said, referring to the Finance Department. “You have a new finance director, the new town accountant and this position. For a year and a half, it was a part-time person doing the job. It’s either misclassified or overpaid. And it’s a question of the need.”

The debate over the new secretary was just one of several testy exchanges throughout the evening.

Earlier, Lyman and Selectman Dan Kowalski laid out their positions on how the town accountant’s job should be set up. They were part of a subcommittee looking into how best to reorganize the department following the retirement of Rodney Smith in November.

Under the town charter, the town accountant is hired and fired by the selectmen and serves as their eyes and ears in town hall, reporting to selectmen but working for the town manager.

Lyman proposed leaving things as is because there is a clear chain of command with the town accountant reporting directly to the selectmen.

Kowalski, however, favored a different approach, which includes moving the town accountant into a newly rebranded Financial Services Department led by the finance director. The town accountant would also be the assistant finance director.

While that’s the option selectmen ultimately agreed on, Stapczynski, over the objections of Chairman Alex Vispoli, put two other options on the table Monday night.

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