LITTLETON —The Board of Selectmen appointed Cheryl Herrick-Stella as the town’s new director of finance and budget, and town accountant Monday night.
Herrick-Stella previously served as Swampscott’s town accountant and will become the town’s third director of finance and budget since the start of 2019. Herrick-Stella’s first day on the job will be Aug. 5, the board said late Monday. Herrick-Stella’s three-year contract will expire June 30, 2022.
The meeting continued past The Sun’s deadline.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity here in Littleton. I truly enjoy working with individuals and people, training them and developing them,” said Herrick-Stella, delivering a statement to the board.
“I do feel this is the right next step for me in my career,” she added.
The change in leadership comes after the board and Police Chief Matthew Pinard announced an embezzlement case Friday alleging a former town employee misappropriated funds through a personal, town-issued credit card.
A source close to the investigation told The Sun that over $500,000 could have been embezzled over multiple years.
Littleton’s former finance director, Bonnie-Mae Fleck, left the town in March for a similar position in Carlisle. Fleck, of Leominster, died on July 3 at age 49.
“I want to commend this board for allowing the defense attorney and police to investigate. It’s been emotionally draining for a lot of people,” Chairman Joe Knox said.
Monday’s meeting saw the Board of Selectmen address budgetary concerns and concerns from the public — including a marijuana dispensary potentially being built near a residential area — as well as address an independent auditing firm to analyze “internal control” and conduct a full risk assessment following the press release sent out by the town Friday evening.
“This has been a difficult time for our town,” Selectman Chuck DeCoste said during the public meeting. “We are very serious about doing this right and helping the community properly heal.”
No additional comment was made regarding the embezzlement case Monday.
But following a 35-minute executive session, Town Treasurer Steven Venuti combed through internal budgets and previous line items that needed to be transferred and re-budgeted in order to increase the spending limits of revolving funds previously mismanaged.
The board unanimously decided to transfer $175,649 from various budget line items to amend a previous line item of the May 7, 2018 Annual Town Meeting by increasing the spending limits of revolving funds and approve the transfer of $105,214 from last fiscal year’s budgeted expenses to re-budgeted salaries in the parks and recreation enterprise fund.
Other items discussed were the possible adverse effects of marijuana-based businesses and appointments for the Littleton Agricultural Commission, Clean Lakes Committee and Disability Commission, though no movement was made on those items as of deadline.
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