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TOWNSEND — Selectmen approved the posting of a newly-structured executive assistant to the town administrator last week.

Town Administrator Andy Sheehan discussed the reorganization and creation of several positions in their office at their meeting May 8, but was instructed by the board to seek legal opinion and revise job descriptions before moving forward with the others.

His plan, which was outlined in a memo, cut the hours for the executive assistant from 35 to 19 per week, eliminating the position’s benefits. For the past several weeks that position has been vacant.

In addition, it included the creation of a10 hour per week department assistant position and an addition of five hours per week to the town accountant. In total, the reorganization could save up to $2,385 for the town.

A copy of Article 5 of the charter, administrative organization, was given to the board by Town Clerk Sue Funiaole during the discussion. Funiaole, who sits on the Charter Review Committee said she believed the proposal was a re-organization, which would require a public hearing and town meeting vote.

“Her concern apparently is that we are in violation of the charter by going forward and changing structure of jobs, sounds like the by-law is intended for something much bigger,” Lisio said.

Selectmen Rob Plamondon agreed, adding the board is only “tailoring positions due to a vacancy,” not doing something bigger.

“The change (to the executive assistant’s position) would make it more of a position that reflects title, getting work done on a day to day basis,” Sheehan said. “I can’t see it applies to this change, clearly (the by-law) is intended to be organizational-wide, not changing one person’s hours.”

By proposing increased hours to the Town Accountant position by five per week, Sheehan said the position would serve a more “central position on the budget.”

“Right now, the accountant plays a secondary role in budget annually, there is a value to having it be center,” Sheehan said.

In a sense, it would create more of a “financial director” position, Sheehan stated, but he is not proposing the title, just a way to improve overall operation of the finances in town hall.

Lisio requested Sheehan get a legal opinion and “tighten up the job descriptions” before moving forward as well.

“At some point in the not-to-distant-future the executive assistant position needs to be filled,” said Selectmen Chairman Nick Thalheimer.

The board is holding off on the creation of the department assistant position.

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