To the Editor:
The Wenham Finance Department is in disarray as our most recent Finance Director has returned to the private sector. Ever since Sarah Johnson left Wenham in 2010 to become finance director of the much larger department in Weston, Wenham has been drifting from pillar to post with a series of poorly thought out solutions which all ultimately failed. So what are our selectmen doing about it?
Well, on Tuesday night, our interim town administrator came up with a woefully inadequate proposal — outsource the finance department to a part-time consulting firm manned essentially by one person who works full time for another municipality and who would work primarily off-site. Wise folk are shaking their heads — what is really going on here? Why did the well known accounting firms not even respond to our RFQ? Why did the RFQ cover all the functions in the finance department? Who would handle day-to-day finance issues? Who would act as deputy town administrator as finance directors typically do?
For years Wenham operated the finance department with three full-time staff — Finance Director-Treasurer/Collector, Assistant T/C and an accountant. The T/C and Accountant are required by Massachusetts General Law, and the functions must remain separate.
Wenham needs to return to a model that works and pay the going rate for these services. The selectmen should post the Finance Director-Treasurer/Collector position immediately and look for short term professional services to cover the office with the current accountant and part time treasurer/collector we currently have until the new finance director is hired.