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AYER — The Ayer Finance Committee membership was without the ability to muster a quorum for a short period following the resignation of its most senior member on Monday, August 31. By day’s end Tuesday, September 1, the Ayer Board of Selectmen restored the ability of the Finance Committee to form a quorum with a new appointment. Following the resignation and appointment, the 5-seat Finance Committee is still short by two members.

JAMES STEPHEN RESIGNS…..

On August 31, Finance Committee Vice Chairman James Stephen resigned effective immediately. Stephen has served on the Committee since 2003. His current term was to expire on June 30, 2011.

Stephen sent his resignation in a letter addressed to the Selectmen, with copies to his two Finance Committee peers. “During my time on the committee, I tried to place the Town of Ayer as my number one priority in all of my decisions,” wrote Stephen.

Stephen cited competing duties for his time, including his full-time job, and his roles as Executive Secretary for the United Methodist Foundation of New England, Chairman of the Audit Committee of the New England Annual Conference, and Treasurer for the New Vision of Hope Foundation based in Chicago. He also cited treasurer responsibilities for a new family business start up, Armor Medical Supply LLC.

Selectmen Chairman Cornelius “Connie” Sullivan said the Board was accepting Stephen’s resignation “with regret,” adding that Stephen did “yeoman’s work. He’s certainly been a big contributor to the town on keeping us on steady footing going forward.”

“I want to congratulate Mr. Stephen on all the work he’s done,” said Selectman Rick Gilles, who served alongside Stephen on the Finance Committee prior to his run for Selectmen.

“I’d like him to know — the door is open for him to come back,” offered Selectman Jim Fay

LaPIERRE APPOINTED …

With the resignation of Stephen, the Finance Committee ranks dropped to two members, or less than is required to reach a quorum necessary to vote. However, a new member was unanimously appointed by the Board of Selectmen the next night – Glen LaPierre of Lawton Street. Once LaPierre is sworn in, he can sit on the Finance Committee, and is expected to do so at the Committee’s next meeting Wednesday, Sept. 9.

LaPierre will serve out the balance of a three-year term. As of July 1, there were two such vacant three-year seats to fill, following the departure of both Chairman Larry Keenan and decade long member Mary Spinner.

The new most senior member of the Committee with 20 months of service, Brian Muldoon, accompanied LaPierre to the Selectman’s meeting. Muldoon introduced LaPierre as a decade long resident of Ayer. Muldoon confirmed that LaPierre’s nomination was advanced following a unanimous vote of the Finance Committee on August 26. Muldoon said LaPierre was “willing to devote his time and energy” to the Committee.

Selectman Rick Gilles said he’d known LaPierre for years, and said he is “very knowledgeable about accounting… He has a lot of knowledge and I think he’d be a great addition.” Selectman Jim Fay praised LaPierre for stepping forward to offer his financial forecasting experience. “That’s what the Finance Committee does for us,” said Fay. LaPierre is an analyst with ADP.

LaPierre said his goals are to help provide a “true picture in black and white” of the town’s financial condition, “no fuzzy stuff (but rather) this is what we need to do to reach those goals.”

MULDOON STAYING ON …

Three months ago, Finance Committeeman Brian Muldoon had indicated that he might resign the Committee, too, had Stephen not stayed on board and become chair. However, following the selectmen’s vote for LaPierre, Muldoon indicated that he will stay on board and serve out the balance of his term. Muldoon was just re-appointed by the Selectmen in July for another 3-year term, to expire June 30, 2012.

It’s unclear at this time who will serve as Committee chairman. The Committee has been without a chairman since July 1. The Finance Committee meets again Wednesday, Sept. 9 at Ayer Town Hall.

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