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AYER — The seven-member Ayer Town Government Study Committee held its first meeting Aug. 9, where former selectman Murray Clark was elected chairman, former selectman Pauline Conley was elected vice chairman and Personnel Board member Lisa White clerk.

Completing the committee is former selectman Pauline Hamel, former selectman Steven Slarsky, business owner James Pinard, and resident Tom Horgan.

The group discussed meeting with several others to glean information and guidance. These included members of the Groton Town Government Study group.

In 2008, the General Court codified the 2007 vote of Groton Town Meeting, which adopted recommendations from its committee to enter into a charter form of government and switch from town administrator to town manager as its chief administrative officer.

At the outset, Ayer’s group also hopes to meet with representatives from the secretary of state’s office, the Department of Revenue and possibly the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

DOR’s Division of Local Services performed a financial management audit in 2006-07, providing selectmen with a technical review of the town’s financial management structure and recommendations in May 2007.

Although the Study Committee was appointed by selectmen, the structure of the Select board itself isn’t safe from scrutiny.

“I think it’s pretty open as to what we want to do as far as Town Hall goes. I think it covers the Board of Selectmen. It’s probably the main area,” said Clark.

The committee is heavily loaded with former selectmen, with all but Conley dating back to the era of a three-member board. Hamel said she’s already heard commentary about that switchover.

“One thing I hear is that ‘I don’t like five’ and that we should go back to three (selectmen),” Hamel said.

She urged fielding comments from the public to plot the committee’s course.

Clark agreed, but suggested first that the committee study the governmental configurations available to Ayer based on its size.

“I think we have to do that at some point but I would feel more comfortable getting a better understanding about what the different forms of town government are and what would fit into Ayer,” Clark said.

A mayoral form of government with a city council isn’t an option, Clark said.

Conley suggested the committee explore creating its own town-based e-mail address so that public questions and comments can be submitted for consideration as the process unfolds.