Saturday August 24, 2013

DOVER - With the town administrator job opening on Aug. 30, the town is looking at ways to fill the position on an interim basis before finding a full-time employee.

Town Administrator Nona Monis had given the Dover Selectboard her letter of resignation on Aug. 6.

"I sincerely appreciate the support provided to me during my years with the Town. I have worked alongside some excellent colleagues, and have had many opportunities to grow and develop in my career. I will never forget my time with the Town of Dover," her letter stated. "If I can assist with the transition, please do let me know."

She told the Reformer that she would be leaving to pursue another career as a virtual assistant and was qualified to draw from her retirement funds and had nothing to do with pleading guilty to a DUI charge earlier this month, which resulted in a sentence that requires her to complete 200 hours of community service with one year of probation.

"It's merely coincidental," she told the Reformer. "I've been contemplating it for eight months."

On Aug. 20, Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk said that he and board member Victoria Capitani met with Monis last Wednesday "to go over a list we came up with (and) things that we need to get information on."

Monis has plans to put up a white board in the town office, which would list critical items that the town will need to take care of. It will include the frequency for payments the town is responsible for.

A document from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns was sent out to each board member, which describes a program that assists towns with the search for employees. The program also offers assistance with advertising for the job opening.

Terk asked the board whether or not it should outsource the search for a replacement. He said that VLCT would sort through candidates after receiving resumes of interested potential employees and come up with what they perceive as reliable candidates for the town to interview.

"We have used VLCT in the past... for an economic development specialist," said board member Linda Holland. "They were pretty speedy. They narrowed it down to three for us."

Terk mentioned that Wilmington had used the services of VLCT to hire its current Town Manager, Scott Murphy, who had previously worked for the town of Bennington.

Capitani was concerned about the timing. With only just over a week before Monis leaves, the board has to find someone to temporarily fill in for her.

"The one thing I don't see here is the projected timeline," said Capitani of the VLCT document. "Does it speed it up, slow it down? Is it a two- or three-month period?"

Terk said that Abby Freeman, of the VLCT, would attend a future Selectboard meeting in Dover. She would be able to give the board a more precise description of the services that VLCT could provide.

Former Selectboard member Buzzy Buswell mentioned that going through VLCT "could get costly."

Terk said it would be a fee of $5,000 plus the cost of advertising and Freeman's first visit would come at no cost to the town. The board could also establish a budget, Capitani added.

Selectboard member Joe Mahon asked if the town could start advertising for the position now without seeking VLCT counsel first.

"I don't think we're ready now," said Terk. "We need to decide what we want to do in the interim. We need someone to review e-mail, open correspondence and based on the list Nona is going to be leaving, determine what actions are necessary, who to contact, etc. Clearly, we're going to be contacts. Department heads are going to be contacts. In the meantime, we need to decide how we want to fill it."

Monis confirmed that the list would be completed in the next week.

The Selectboard agreed without voting to circulate an email asking if any town employees were interested in the interim position. There was also a general consensus among the board that a special meeting be scheduled preferably sooner than its next meeting on Sept. 3.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.