First selectman proposing staffing changes

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

BEACON FALLS — First Selectman Gerard Smith wants to add more hours and responsibilities to two town positions in a move designed to make operations in the land use and police departments more efficient.

Smith is proposing to create a 10-hour land use liaison position. The additional hours would be given to the assessor’s office clerk position, held by Lisa Daigle, who works 25 hours a week now, to create a full-time assessor/land use coordinator. The additional 10 hours would be solely for work in the land use office.

All the employees in the land use office are part-time and the office isn’t open full time. Smith said the position will help facilitate operations and record keeping in the department as well as conduct better dealings with boards, commissions and the public.

“Nothing is getting recorded. Stuff is all over the place,” Smith said. “This will clean up the land use department. It’s expanding the roles of an existing employee.”

Smith is also proposing to increase the hours of the police office coordinator position, held by Joan Rubbo, from 30 to 35 hours to take on more responsibilities, including maintaining records of vehicle maintenance and working with compliance matters regarding police officer safety.

The police lieutenant position at the department is not filled and the additional hours would allow the office coordinator to take on more administrative tasks.

“These needs have been in existence for the past decade and never addressed,” Smith said

If the position changes move ahead, they would go into effect on Feb. 1, according to Smith.

Creating an assessor/land use coordinator would make the position full time and eligible for benefits. Smith estimated it would cost about $12,000 more this fiscal year to make the change. The police office coordinator position is already full time. The additional hours and a proposed pay increase would cost about $7,500 more this fiscal year, Smith said.

Smith is eyeing transferring the money from the contingency account.

There was $74,620 remaining in the contingency account as of last week out of the $100,000 budgeted for the fiscal year, Finance Manager Natasha Nau said.

Smith said the cost to cover the changes would be less than $20,000, which is the threshold that would require officials to send a transfer to a vote at a town meeting.

The impact of the changes on the 2021-22 budget would be about $40,000, according to Smith.

The Board of Selectmen will review the proposal in January, Smith said. The Board of Finance will have to approve transferring the funds.

Smith said the changes will provide relief to the land use and police departments.

“It will be bring greater compliance of all their issues and make better access to the police department,” Smith said. “It will bring easier access to building permits and land use matters during all town hall hours.”