AYER — Robert Pontbriand is Ayer’s first Town Manager.
The new title is part of a series of changes to reorganize town government to be more centralized, professional, and offer better support to residents.
“In the most broad sense, it’s a form of government centrality, personnel, procurement, and day-to-day operations,” he said.
The Town Manager can hire and fire department heads, serve as the Chief Procurement Officer, enter contracts, administer personnel policies, work on collective bargaining, and write the budget.
Some of day-to-day duties like signing payroll warrants previously belonged to the Board of Selectmen or required its approval.
“This allows the Board of Selectmen to focus on policy, a vision of the town, and big issues without getting bogged down by daily administrative matters,” Pontbriand said.
The Town Manager position does not come with a salary change, he said. Because it includes similar responsibilities in his previous role, Pontbriand felt his current compensation is fair.
The position will be appointed to a three-year term by the Board of Selectmen.
Pontbriand, who became Town Administrator in 2008, will serve the remaining year of his contract as Town Administrator and then seek re-appointment.
Other changes at Town Hall include making the clerk, treasurer and tax collector, and tree warden appointed positions. The town clerk position, currently served by Susan Copeland, was previously part-time and included responsibilities as tax collector. Treasurer and tax collector is a new position that is currently hiring.
Discussion about reorganization goes back to 2010 through a town government study, which made recommendations to increase efficiency and maximize costs. Having a Town Manager and a treasurer and tax collector were among those recommendations.
Voters at last fall’s special Town Meeting approved restructuring the Town Administrator position as a Town Manager.
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