AYER -- Officials have begun a search for a new treasurer-tax collector in what is being called a government reorganization. The newly formed position is an effort to assuage the burgeoning role of Town Clerk Susan Copeland, who has been wearing all three hats for almost two years.
Additional changes include the crossover of the positions from elected posts to direct appointments by the hiring board, which includes Copeland and four other town officers: Town Manager Robert Pontbriand; Assistant Town Manager Carly Antonellis; Assessor Tom Hogan; and Finance Manager Lisa Gabree. The board was looking for specific professional experience in municipal finance management.
"When they were 'elected' positions, there was no certification required to run for it or perform the duties of treasurer," Copeland said. "But now that it is an appointment, the state requires it."
It is this new criteria that limited the number of qualified applicants. The 10 candidates for the position were narrowed to five, who have been interviewing over the past week, with an announcement to be made within two weeks about the selection committee's choice to serve as town treasurer-collector.
The town voted in October to allow for the reconfiguration of the local government -- after getting approval from the state legislature -- which allowed for the inclusion of a full-time treasurer-collector.
Copeland is as relieved as anyone to hire a new official. Her multiple responsibilities in town government, has been enjoyable but exhausting.
"I really like being the town historian and gatekeeper. I like being the town clerk," she said. "This is my hometown." Her singular position was also amended from elected to appointed under a separate vote that got overwhelming support by a 3-1 margin, 74-24.
Copeland] was elected to all three positions in 2016 with the intention of separating the duties in the future. The future is approaching quickly as the job posting was just published a month ago with someone slated to take office within a month.