Sunday, March 10, 2013

Home News Local News Winchester tries operating without a town administrator

Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2013 8:00 am | Updated: 8:14 am, Sun Mar 10, 2013.
WINCHESTER — Selectmen have decided to not fill the position of town administrator until at least July.
Selectmen Chairwoman Roberta A. Fraser said the move to eliminate the full-time job, at least for the short-term, was made to save money. According to the 2011-12 town report, $55,000 was budgeted for the administrator position for the year.
In the meantime, the town administrator duties were given last month to executive assistant Shelly Walker, Fraser said.
Walker, who will receive about an extra $1.50 per hour, was among a number of candidates who applied for the full-time position, she said.
( so how do you apply for a position that was never advertised and why is Margaret Sharra sitting at Shelly's desk all day long ?)
Joan C. Morel, who had been town administrator since October 2010, submitted a letter of resignation to selectmen in December. Her last day was supposed to be Feb. 8, but she had agreed to stay on the job until March 12, before that changed last month.
The town administrator position also included assessing office responsibilities, and those have been given to Land Use Administrator Margaret Sharra for now, Fraser said. Sharra will receive roughly an extra $1 per hour, Fraser said. ( when was this position advertised? )
“We’re doing everything we can to have the town run efficiently with what we can afford. When we looked at the (town administrator) position, and compared it to what we needed in the office, we decided to give this a try,” she said.
By saving money between now and the end of the fiscal year in June, it will help with the inevitable cash flow issues that crop up when the town’s coffers run down as the budget year comes to a close, she said. Compounding this is the fact that the Winchester School District is also on a fiscal year for its budget, with the same money issues, Fraser said. The school district is now independent, where it used to be part of N.H. School Administrative Unit 38, and that means there’s no leeway in when payments are due, she said.
In prior years, the town has had to borrow money to pay bills, especially at the end of the year, Fraser said.
“It really comes down to timing,” she said.
The changes to the town administrator position were announced at a selectmen’s work session on Feb. 19 following a nonpublic session. According to minutes from the meeting, Morel’s official last day was Feb. 21.
“Joan had agreed to stay on (until March), and then we decided to go with the new plan,” Fraser said.
After seeing how much voters appropriate for the town on Tuesday, selectmen will discuss whether to keep the town administrator job as is, or move the job’s responsibilities to other positions.
If selectmen decide to keep the job intact, the position will be reinstated in July.

Meghan Foley can be reached at 352-1234 extension 1436 or Follow her on Twitter @MFoleyKS.


Mike Towne said...

The statement that Sharra is now working as the town's assessor isn't true. I was in the town hall on two separate occasions last week filing for a property tax abatement and getting a copy of my tax card and it was Shelly Walker working behind the assessors computer who assisted me both times and on both days I observed Sharra on the computer in the Selectman's office doing who knows what, but it wasn't assessor's duties, wrong office and wrong computer

Anonymous said...

Mike, Sharra will move into that job fast enough she is just wondering how the chair fits or should she order a new one with heat and vibrating massage for a more therapeutic relaxing posture while she sets on her gluteus maximius all day at you the tax payer’s expense

With Winchester’s low information voter turn-out they must learn the hard way that bad elections have consequences that hits right in your pocket .. You Winchester voters will awaken one bring morning and find Sharra has crowned herself Queen of Winchester. Sharra is not there to help the citizens or service you she has proven she is self-serving bitch to line her own pocket at your expense.

Anonymous said...

No town office staff does any assessing. We hire professionals to do that. They simply do record keeping. Big difference. In my experience, shelley is the most professional staff member since Bob Gray left. I'll bet she could handle it all as selectmen's assistant without a big title and big salary -- just like is done in most SMALL towns like ours.

Always An Angle said...

Saving money is a good idea, but I have to wonder why the raise in pay. 8 or 10 hours is 8 or 10 hours, and if they fill the spot with someone else down the road, does there pay drop back? Its a great way to give raises if no one is looking.

Anonymous said...

I was happy to see Shelly Walker given more responsibility, with an increase in pay, as she has proven to be a hard worker and dedicated to Winchester. I hope she becomes the Winchester Town Manager, if the town decides to hire one in July.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Shelly Walker is everything this town wants in an employee but never seems to get.
As mr towne notes in first comment, she was also the one who handled my tax abatement request.