Wilton hires interim town administrator 

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:18PM

Wilton has hired an interim town administrator in the wake of three employees resigning from the select board’s office.

Paul Branscombe, who lives in Loudon, was hired at the end of April to take over the role.

In a brief interview with the Ledger-Transcript, Branscombe said he has been in municipal government for 10 years. He said he acted as the town administrator in Ashland for five years, and for two years in Gilmanton. Before he was the town administrator in Gilmanton, he served on the town’s budget board and its planning board.

Chair of the Select Board Kellie-Sue Boissonnault said Municipal Resources Inc. recommended Branscombe act as interim town administrator, the board interviewed him, and hired him not long after. Branscombe started on Tuesday, May 1.

The change in leadership comes on the heels of an explosive select board meeting in late March in which the former Town Administrator Scott Butcher and the town’s Administrative Assistant Pam Atwood both resigned. The resignations stemmed from a discussion about finding a replacement for the Select Board’s assistant and bookkeeper Caitlin Martin, who previously departed from the office.

In an email sent to the Ledger-Transcript, Atwood said her resignation was a direct result of Butcher’s resignation and Martin’s abrupt departure, a fleeing that would have left her to run the office by herself.  Atwood wrote, her last months in the office were “wrought with accusations, innuendos, and allegations, causing extreme frustration in the Selectmen’s Office.” She said in the email that it was her opinion that select board members didn’t support the staff on “numerous occasions.”

Butcher said at the select board meeting where he resigned that “my job has been a moving target.” He went on to say that “it has been very difficult to do my job,” according to a previous Ledger-Transcript article.

Butcher didn’t respond to a request to comment further on the situation.

Since the upheaval, select board members have become point people for the town’s department heads.

“Basically we’re having to do all the duties that require keeping the town running and we’ve leaned on our department heads to communicate well with us so we don’t leave any loopholes,” Boissonnault said. 

When asked if it has been a lot more work for select board members since the departures, she responded, “oh my gosh, yes.” 

She said Branscombe has already helped a lot though.

Boissonnault said she didn’t know the exact amount the town was paying Branscombe off the top of her head. She said Branscombe bills out differently than Municipal Resources Inc, which was reported has previously been reported to cost the town $85 per hour. 

Branscombe said he interviewed for the town administrator position in Wilton when it was open the last time, although Butcher ended up with the job.

“I get a second bite at the apple or the cherry … whatever you want to call it,” Branscombe said about landing the interim position on his second attempt.

Branscombe said he has his work cut out for him.

“The Selectmen’s Office has been decimated. We’re trying to rebuild the office from the ground up,” Branscombe said.

He said he is working to hire people to fill voids in the office and put policies and procedures in place.

“So there’s a lot of things we have got to do,” Branscombe said on Tuesday.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.