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Joyce Endee

Discussion of staffing needs at Town Clerk's office continues

February 29, 2012
Following a public hearing on petitioned warrant articles on Wednesday, Feb. 22, selectmen continued with their regular meeting to discuss the a staffing study for the Town Clerk/Tax Collector office.

Following the Town Deliberative Session, Selectmen voted to add $12,200 to the budget, in keeping with an amendment proposed by Town Clerk/Tax Collector Denise Gonyer. Budget Committee members followed suit, but selectmen still had the final say on how to apply the additional funds.

Selectmen, still not sure the TC/TC office needs the additional position, opted to hire an outside agency for a staffing study at a cost of $2,000. They felt these studies should be conducted in all departments every few years to keep track of the services provided and staffing.

Selectman Kevin Hayes suggested the practice would help them "find out where we are and what we can do with the department."

Gonyer referred to a town-wide Municipal Resources study conducted in 2004. According to Gonyer, the TC/TC office staffing was set according to the study.

Gonyer said that since 2004, their daily duties have increased, and services have expanded; even tasks like answering public emails and phone calls take up a lot of time.

According to Gonyer, the current staffing in the TC/TC office is below the 2004 recommendation, and to pay for another study would be a waste of taxpayer money.

Originally, Gonyer said she offered to reduce a full-time position to a 24 hour part-time position, and selectmen cut the position entirely. Gonyer pleaded with selectmen and Budget Committee members to add $12,200 to the budget to fund the part-time position. Selectmen instead added funds to the Planning and Land-Use Department.

Budget Committee members tried to fund the part-time position, but it was not until the Deliberative Session that selectmen agreed to add the funds. They did not, however, say whether they would use the funds for the intended purpose.

The selectmen ultimately decided to table the topic for further discussion.

During the public input portion of last week's meeting, Police Chief Kevin Keenan told selectmen that the previous night, Tuesday, Feb. 21, around 9 p.m., road conditions became hazardous.

According to Keenan, near the Route 11-A and Cat Path junction, about 10 cars had skidded off the road. Keenan said the Gilford Department of Public Works road crew responded almost immediately, but NH Department of Transportation crews took about 90 minutes to respond.

Keenan said that cars were off the road all along Route 11-A, all the way to the Alton town line, and cars were "just about on top of each-other."

While waiting for NH-DOT crews, emergency responders got an ambulance stuck in the snow, and needed assistance to get to the emergency scene.

At 10:35 p.m., Keenan said NH-DOT crews had yet to respond, and he requested to be notified as soon as they called.

Hayes suggested that Keenan send a letter to the NH-DOT district manager and commissioner. He also commended DPW Director Sheldon Morgan and his workers.

"Service in this town is second to none," said Hayes.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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