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Town vacancies piling up

The road crew is currently operating with just three workers.
Written by Laura Covalla
Town vacancies piling up

Town Manager Bryan Gazda reported several personnel vacancies during the June 7th Selectboard meeting.

The Department of Public Works currently has two openings for Road Crew Workers. Typically, Thetford's road crew is a team of five (including the foreman), but the Town was unable to fill the fifth position last year despite having it posted. The road crew is currently operating with just three workers.

During the most recent Selectboard meeting on June 21st, Gazda gave the update that two individuals had been interviewed for the open DPW positions, but that offers had not yet been made. He's hopeful that both openings will be filled by the end of the month.

The Town is also without a DPW Project Manager, a position that had been modified last year to DPW Director. The modified position was filled briefly by the Town's Recreation Director prior to his recent resignation, which left the Town without a DPW or Recreation Director. The Town Manager has been performing project management duties.

The Town recently hired a part-time Recreation Director, a position that was previously full-time. The idea was that a part-time Treasure Island Coordinator would absorb much of the summer workload of the Recreation Director – peak construction season for the road crew – which would allow the Recreation/DPW Director to focus on Town infrastructure during those months. The idea may have to shift again now that one person is not performing both roles.  

The Treasure Island Coordinator position was difficult to fill, but the position has been filled. While there are fewer lifeguards than preferred, Treasure Island is open for the season after a later-than-usual start.

Previous to the June 7th meeting, Gazda received letters of resignation from both the Administrative Assistant for the Board of Listers and, separately, from the Zoning Administrator, Diane Osgood, who also fills a part-time Lister position.

The job opening for the Listers Clerk has been posted on the Town's website for several weeks, but Gazda said on June 21st that he will be combining the two open administrative positions and reposting them as one job. The benefit, Gazda said, is that the Town would save on things like office space and computer equipment. There is already an overlap between the two job functions.

The Listers Office will be seeing another big turnover in the coming months as Janet Stowell, the most senior and experienced lister with 32 years of service, will be retiring at the end of her term in March 2022. That will mean two open Lister positions at the next Town Meeting.

The Town could transition to a professional assessor, leaving behind the system of elected, part-time listers. The move would require voter approval at a Special or Regular Town Meeting and an article put forward by the Selectboard or petitioned by voters. One full-time position might be easier to fill than three part-time positions.