NAUGATUCK — As the borough bids farewell to Wayne McAllister, controller and school business manager, officials welcomed his replacement with open arms.
Robert Butler, who is currently the assistant business manager for the Board of Education, will step into the positions of controller and business manger on July 1.
Butler was offered the position of controller by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses and Board of Finance during a special meeting June 12. The Board of Education voted to hire Butler as the business manager the following night.
In 2009 the borough combined the two positions.
Butler will split his time between his duties to the borough and the school board and his salary would be divided between the two sides. McAllister this year made about $89,000 from the borough and $20,000 from the school board.
“While he has big shoes to fill replacing the long-time leader of Naugatuck’s municipal finance, Wayne McAllister, we are excited to begin a new era with Mr. Butler in charge of this critical function of local government,” Mayor Robert Mezzo wrote on his blog.
Butler has been working since October as assistant business manager, earning a $60,000 salary. Prior to working with the town Butler was the position of manager of treasury, contracts, and analysis at General DataComm, a position he had held for nearly three decades. He also served as chairman of the finance board.
Butler said he has the experience to do the job and the position is a good chance to move forward in his career.
“I’ve had experience on the Board of Finance. I’ve had experience now with the Board of Education. It was a good opportunity for growth and I thought I could give to the town,” Butler said.
He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in marketing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Mezzo said 14 people applied for the job, and the committee interviewed six of the candidates before narrowing the pool down to Butler and two other external applicants for a final round of interviews.
Butler said going into the interview he was confident in himself, but not overly so.
“You have to have some level of confidence in yourself to do something like this. But did I feel cocky about it? Not really, because you don’t know who your competition is,” Butler said. “Having sat on both sides, on the interview committee and as an interviewee, it’s tough and you can’t take anything for granted.”
Mezzo said the interviewing committee felt that Butler was the best choice for the position.
“The consensus of the committee overall was that Bob distinguished himself as the best choice for Naugatuck and to carry on the level of financial responsibility established by Mr. McAllister,” Mezzo said.
Borough officials are certain that Butler will be able to pick up where McAllister has left off.
“I’ve always found him to be a bright and articulate person,” Burgess Ronald San Angelo said. “I think if anyone can fill Wayne’s shoes in any way close it would be Bob.”
San Angelo said that Butler is known to stay late and listen to the citizens of Naugatuck.
“He’s going to be a very strong asset for many years to come,” San Angelo said.
Board of Education Chairman David Heller also lauded Butler’s work ethic and dedication to the school board.
“We’re happy that Mr. Butler was hired by the town for the job. We’re sad because we had sole control and usage of him and now we have to share,” Heller said. “We think he’ll do a great job. He’s done a wonderful job for us with our budget moving forward this year.”
The Republican American contributed to this article.