TOWNSEND -- A written policy regarding the reclassification of municipal positions is needed, selectmen said. The determination was made during a discussion of a request to reclassify a job in the town's wage-and-compensation plan.
Currently there is no procedure in place to appeal a classification. The need for a policy was established after the Board of Health stated in a letter to selectmen that the health administrator's position should be classified at a higher level that more accurately reflects the duties.
Prior to the May 14 meeting, Town Administrator Andy Sheehan contacted the consultant who completed the wage-and-compensation study for the town. The new matrix was implemented a year ago.
The reply from Sandy Stapczynski from Human Resources Services Inc. had several take-aways that were important to note, Sheehan said.
"It's hard for a community like Townsend to manage a wage-and-compensation plan in-house," he said. A town the size of Townsend cannot afford a human-resources employee. Although the town has spoken with other communities about sharing an employee, nothing has come of it, he said.
HRS often handles reclassification appeals for their clients at a cost of $100 to $400 per position. The work could entail interviewing the employee, supervisors and filling out a questionnaire.
Another firm in New Hampshire uses the same system as HRS and could be hired instead of the original consultant, Sheehan said. "You can't just plug and play compensation plans. They're not all the same."
The other important thing he took away from the HRS reply is that a third party would be impartial when looking at reclassifying a position. They do not know the employees, whether or not they are likable or the politics of the situation.
The board questioned the reasons the Board of Health gave for reclassifying the Health Administrator's position. Chairman Chris Genoter said the administrator, Carla Walter, has more duties than what is included in the current job description.
The administrator is responsible for developing a budget based on considerations like day-to-day tracking of costs and the future need for landfill engineering, he said.
"That might need clarification," said Sue Lisio, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen. "I see you guys as responsible for the budget," she said to the members of the Board of Health.
The administrator also supervises the landfill engineers, contractors for the recycling center and the trash haulers, Genoter said.
"Supervising means they're above the individual," Selectman Bob Plamondon said. "Is it more like she works with the engineers?"
"If we were to pass this on to HRS ... probably Andy (Sheehan) would come back and say exactly what do you mean by that," Lisio said.
"I'd like to work on it some more and try and tweak some of the wording," Genoter said.
Selectmen asked Sheehan to come up with a policy on classification appeals for next week's meeting.
"We do not want folks to assume every town employee would come in and want their jobs looked at again," Lisio said, "There needs to be a process."
Employees could come before the selectmen with information, kind of like an appeals process, she said, and the board could decide whether to send the appeal to HRS or not.
Genoter requested input during the week on the changes to the job description so he could improve the document and present it at the next selectmen's meeting.
Selectmen also approved additional spending from the Recreation Commission's revolving account. The town authorized the use of $52,000 in fiscal year 2013 ending in June. According to a memo from Kim Fales, the town accountant, the department has spent an additional $13,602.
The funds in the account are raised by the Recreation Department and there is enough in the account to cover the additional amount which was used for wages, Sheehan said. Because the summer program began later in the year than usual last summer, some wages were paid from the fiscal year 2013 budget instead of the previous year's budget as usually happens. He suggested approving $20,000, as they would incur more wage expenses before the beginning of the next fiscal year.
The budget is usually managed by a board member, not the recreation director, he said.
"I don't want to tell another board how to do things, but it sounds like they need help," Lisio said. "Offer the help," she told Sheehan.