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'Nerve Center' at Town Hall Needs to be Filled Again

The town of Wenham will again need to fill the Finance Director position.

For the third time in less than three years, the Finance Director position for the town of Wenham will need to be filled.

The last day at Wenham Town Hall for Finance Director Paula Bartlett is Dec. 18, according to Town Administrator Mark Andrews.

Andrews, who called the finance director position the "nerve center" for the town government's operations, is compiling a transition plan now. On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen asked him to assemble the plan, which he will present to the Board of Selectmen on Dec. 18.

"I am in the process of constructing that plan," Andrews said. "It is a tight timeline with the holidays."

It is yet to be determined who will fill the position on Dec. 19, Andrews said.

"We're still working on it," Andrews said. "There's a number of ways we can go."

Andrews said he has reached out to colleagues and professional organizations about the opening and the future of the department.

"There won't be a lack of enthusiasm in addressing this (vacancy)," Andrews said.

The position leads the finance department, which right now is working on getting out tax bills and developing the fiscal 2014 budget.

"It really is a critical area," Andrews said. "It's central to everything we do."

The last time the position went vacant, Hamilton and Wenham delved into an examination of combining the finance functions of both towns but the idea was never implemented.

Andrews said it is too early to determine whether a finance department merger may be again considered with the Wenham position vacant.

"I haven't gotten to that level yet," he said this week. For now, developing the fiscal 2014 budget is "front and center."

Bartlett received an offer from a former employer that was "much to her liking," Andrews said.

"I wish Paula the best," he said.

Bartlett replaced Nichole Hagstrom, who left in October 2011 after about a year for a job with the Salem Public Schools. Before that, Hagstrom was promoted from administrative assistant to former Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren to the finance director position. She filled first the position when Sarah Johnson left in May 2010 to become the finance director in Weston.

Michelle Bailey December 08, 2012 at 12:28 PM
The town has used a number of consultants to fill-in and train the newly hired finance directors over the last several years. With the budget preparation underway, we should consider having one of those consultants who know `o u r` financial systems and books. Plus using consultants allows the Government Study Committee time to complete their report which may redefine the type of person we should hire.

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