AYER -- Assistant Treasurer Melisa Doig is leaving Ayer for Groton after being appointed the town's new human resources director.
Doig sent in her resignation letter last Tuesday, writing that she has always considered Ayer her second home.
"While I will miss my friends here at the town of Ayer, I feel that it is time for new challenges and experiences that will be beneficial to my long-term career goals and objectives," she wrote.
"The past 15 and a half years have been a great learning experience," the letter continued. "I could not have asked to work with a better group of department heads, boards, employees and retirees. I have grown in many ways during my time here and I appreciate the opportunities provided to me by the town of Ayer."
Doig beat out 14 other applicants for the department-head position. She will start in Groton on April 22.
Groton Town Administrator Mark Haddad said Doig "rose to the top" and was the unanimous choice among the department heads. Haddad said Doig had the experience and personality the group was looking for.
"We're very excited to bring her on board," he said.
Doig, who manages payroll and benefits in Ayer, will be overseeing benefits administration, personnel and recruitment at her new job, she said in her office last Wednesday.
"I'm looking forward to the challenges that are coming my way," she said.
Doig first came to Town Hall from the private sector, where she worked as an investment account manager.
"I wouldn't have worked anywhere else to start my career," she said.
Doig has served as Ayer's representative for the Minuteman Nashoba Health Group, and is on the MNHG Board of Directors.
Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand said Doig's experience and knowledge is top-notch, noting that Groton is lucky to have her. She provided invaluable assistance on town life insurance changes, and was instrumental in bringing a wellness coordinator to the MNHG, he said.
"The town of Groton is very fortunate to be getting somebody with such extensive knowledge and experience in health insurance, benefits, payroll and personnel," he said.
Now, Ayer is faced with figuring out how to distribute Doig's workload -- whether in the form of a new position, an outsource of payroll work or other options.
Pontbriand said there are four major options that selectmen, the Finance Committee and the treasurer will need to discuss. The town can replace Doig with another assistant treasurer or adopt the new position of payroll/benefits manager. The payroll work can also be outsourced, while Pontbriand and the town accountant manage other work such as health insurance.
The last option is to keep the position unfilled while its work is delegated and distributed between the treasurer, town account and town administrator.
Doig's resignation could signal an end to the personnel problems between Doig and Treasurer Stephanie Gintner. Doig had been transferred to the supervision of Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand for the second time after she sent a letter of complaint to the board in October.
Groton was fully aware of Doig's past issues in Ayer during the selection process.
"Melisa made us very aware of it when we interviewed her, she was very up front and open during the interview process with what was happening in Ayer with her job and with the relationship with the treasurer," Haddad said.
All new department heads must go through a background police investigation, Haddad said. Those details were confirmed by the police, he said, "so we're satisfied that there's no issue."
Groton Selectman Josh Degen questioned Doig's lack of a college degree, but it was not a prerequisite for the job.
"The job description says that it's a combination," Haddad said. "It's either a bachelor's degree with five years of experience or a combination of education and experience. And the fact that she has 16 years of experience meets the requirements of the job description."
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