SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 3, 2013

Selectmen move forward with searches

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — WENHAM — Selectmen are hoping to extend an agreement with a private financial firm as they continue a search for a new town accountant.

Selectmen Chairman Ken Whittaker said the town interviewed a few candidates for the position, but none were the right fit. He said the town is working on a deal with Baystate Municipal Services Group Inc. to continue its accounting services for up to a year as the search continues. Town accountant Catherine Gabriel resigned in May.

“That will give us the time to continue to evaluate candidates,” Whittaker said. He said they could hire someone from outside or promote someone from within the department with further training.

The firm has also been hired to run the Finance Department after Finance Director Paula Bartlett resigned in December.

Bartlett, who was promoted to the job permanently last summer after serving as the department’s interim director, is the third director to leave Town Hall in three years. Her salary was $78,000.

Selectmen are also looking into different ways to develop a search for town administrator. The board recently extended the contract for Town Administrator Mark Andrews for another year.

The search could be conducted internally by board members or the town may hire an outside search firm, Whittaker said.

“It is moving forward,” he said. “It’s not moving too fast.”

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.