HINSDALE, N.H. -- The Board of Selectmen and Town Clerk Tammy-Jean Akeley came to an agreement on Akeley's compensation Monday night, settling a dispute that has lasted at least eight months and included an audit of the town clerk's office.
Mike Darcy, the chairman of the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen until Bernie Rideout took over that role at Monday's meeting, told the Reformer Akeley will be paid based on Step 8 on a payment scale and based on a 33-hour work week. Darcy said it was difficult to explain the payscale and Town Administrator Jill Collins was out of the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
A town clerk is a publicly elected individual who serves as the keeper of birth, marriage and death certificates and is responsible for motor vehicle and canine registrations, among other duties.
The selectmen must also pay back Akeley all the fees she hasn't been paid since Aug. 1, when the selectmen starting enforcing the state statute that prohibits a town clerk from receiving both salary and convenience fees. An internal investigation revealed Akeley was getting both. A town clerk, unless under salary, is paid a $2.50 fee by citizens paying the state portion of their vehicle registrations through the town. The fees are otherwise supposed to offset the town's costs to keep the office open. Darcy said the town will pay back Akelely before the start of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
Based on the number of registered vehicles in town, there was initial concern Akeley had received an extra $12,000 each of her 13 years on the job, according to Collins. Akeley took over for Jean Savory, who died on Aug. 30, 2001.
Most of the negotiations happened in non-public session, though the selectmen voted on the salary during public session.
Despite numerous attempts to contact Akeley at her office, she was unavailable for comment.
In August 2013, Akeley told the Reformer she was making $18,000 per year and the selectmen had acted mischievously by changing her status from hourly to salary-based shortly before making their allegations. She said she initially made $10.95 an hour for 66 hours every two weeks but got her pay increased to $11.10 an hour, only to be cut back to 64 hours every two weeks. But Darcy said this is inaccurate and Akeley was paid hourly after taking over for Savory 12 years ago and then became salaried, like every other elected town official, when she was elected in her own right.
Darcy told the Reformer he hopes nothing will change in regards to the relationship between the selectmen and the town clerk, and he doesn't expect it to.
"We're moving forward," he said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.