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‘Filling holes’ in absence of Pini

Town administrator position still vacant

Though it is not yet clear why Carlotta Pini is no longer the Rindge town administrator, nor who will replace her, Select Board member Roberta Oeser told the Ledger-Transcript on Monday that the job post should be filled eventually.

“I feel there needs to be someone in that position,” Oeser said.

In the meantime, she said the Select Board is running the town offices in the absence of a town administrator. “The selectmen are in charge,” she said, adding that the board just decided on having brief Tuesday morning meetings for a short period, in order to keep up with everything, including many administrative tasks like payroll, answering emails, preparing documents, and so on. Oeser said she has been in the town offices to keep up with the work, though getting much done is difficult, since takes two selectmen to make any decision. “I can’t do anything by myself,” she said.

Though Oeser said the employees in the town offices haven’t fallen behind in their work yet, the selectmen’s meeting Wednesday night suggested that without a town administrator, tasks were becoming more cumbersome. Town Accountant Ellen Smith spoke at the meeting about adjusting the budgeting timeline and figuring out “how to fill the holes” in the meantime. For now, the town offices will being handling budgets by breaking up departments into groups and having different sessions with the Select Board and Budget Advisory Committee. The Police Department, Animal Control and Recreation Department budgets are planned to be done this week.

Though the town seems to be making do for now, Oeser was clear on Monday: she thinks the town administrator role is important and necessary Rindge Town Offices. “The town administrator is authorized to take care of the business of the town,” she said. Oeser added that there needs to be someone to assemble all the information that comes through the town offices. With budget work, for example, someone needs to talk to insurance companies to make sure Rindge’s insurance costs don’t rise.

In the meantime, Oeser said everything has been made easier by the town’s department heads, who “basically take care of the town.” Someone, however, has to keep track of those department heads. “We have to have someone in the office,” Oeser said, pointing out that many years ago, before there was town administrator position, the town’s former police chief took a two week vacation without telling anyone.

In response to a question about the possibility of the town administrator role becoming an elected position, Oeser said Monday she couldn’t imagine that happening. Oeser had concerns about finding qualified candidates, and the prospect of being stuck with someone for an elected three-year term who was unable to perform the job. “What if they elected someone who was incompetent?” she asked.

Calls made to Select Board members Daniel Aho and Samuel Seppala were not returned. Oeser could not comment on Pini’s departure or replacement, saying, “There hasn’t been anything solidified as of yet.”

Elodie can be reached by phone at 924-7172 ext. 228, or by email at Elodie is also on Twitter @elodie_reed.

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