NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 12, 2013

After 'tumultuous year,' water department manager resigns

ROWLEY — In the latest of changes during a year of great flux in the town’s water department, business manager Laura Hamilton gave her resignation to the Board of Selectmen Monday, listing Oct. 18 as her last day.

Citing a “tumultuous past year” after 19 years with the department, Hamilton said the hours she was required to work and the responsibilities she was assigned were not in the purview of her hire. “I have always tried to do my best to serve the citizens of this town during this difficult time,” said Hamilton in her resignation letter.

As a result of Hamilton’s departure, the water department has a near-urgent need to find a replacement to handle the business functions, such as payroll, purchasing and accounts payable and receivable, that were among Hamilton’s responsibilities.

“We have a real need to fund the duties of the business manager and we need to do something quickly,” said Water Commissioner Tim Toomey.

A joint meeting of the water department Board and Board of Selectmen was called to address this issue. Also, selectmen agreed to transfer the $32,000 left in the business manager salary account to the expense maintenance account, allowing for the water department to hire a temporary accounting services company.

Residents will see this transfer up for approval on the town warrant at the Special Fall Town Meeting on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pine Grove School.

Providing for interim services through the end of the fiscal year – June 30, 2014 – will allow the water department time to evaluate the possibilities of hiring another in-house business manager or outsourcing these responsibilities to a water management company.

“There have been such changes in the water department in the last year that we need to solidify the operations and give the board and operators a chance to see how things come together before we make the commitment to hiring a new business manager,” said Selectman Dave Petersen.

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