SANBORNTON — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to enter into a nearly year-long contract for town administrator services with Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith.
The contract provides that MRI will provide the town with the services of Charlie Smith of Laconia in exchange for $5,820 per month until December 31, 2015 and 6,500 per month through June 30, 2016.
The contract specifies that Smith will work a minimum of 2,000 hours a year — or a 40-hour work week for 50 weeks. In addition, MRI will provide eight hours a month of supervision for Smith, who has limited experience but holds a Masters degree in public policy. Additional supervision from MRI will cost $120 per hour.
The decision to subcontract town administrator services comes in the wake of the board's decision not to renew a contract for former Town Administrator Bob Veloski. According to the town book keeper, Veloski was paid $5,305 monthly based on an annual salary of $63,671 as of July 1.
Selectman Karen Ober explained that the arrangement with MRI accomplished one goal for the town, one goal for Smith and one goal for MRI in that the town gets a highly educated town administrator, Smith gets the hands-on experience he needs and MRI continues its program of hiring and training recent college graduates in the business of town administration.
The savings to the town of Sanbornton comes in the form of not having to pay Social Security taxes or into the state retirement system for the town administrator. It also eliminates the need for the town to pay for health insurance.
While the selectmen met and interviewed Smith, along with his employer Don Jutton, should the relationship not work out, MRI will provide a different town administrator. The contract with MRI has a clause that allows the town to end the contract with 15 days notice if the board feels it's not working.
"I think this is going to work out pretty well," said Selectman's Chair Dave Nickerson. "If we hired off the street it would have cost us much more."
Ober quoted something Jutton told them about Sanbornton saying, "We're too big to be small and too small to be big."
Nickerson said that for the balance of this fiscal year (Sanbornton uses a July to June fiscal year for budgeting, not a calender year) the budget line will be $25,407 short. He noted that this would have been the case regardless of whether the town chose MRI or hired an administrator for pay comparable to what it's paying MRI.
He suggested that over the next few weeks, the individual department heads and the selectmen will scour the budget for line items that can be transferred to the executive administration line.
Smith begins officially Monday morning and will be meeting with Ober and the department heads today.
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