, Salem, MA

Local News

December 24, 2012

Selectmen to consider contract with private financial firm

WENHAM — The town has only received one bid in its search to hire a private financial firm to get through the budget season in the wake of the finance director’s resignation.

Town Administrator Mark Andrews said the town reached out to six different firms through a request for quotations, but the town only received one certified bid from Baystate Municipal Services Group Inc., on Dec. 17.

Selectmen are expected to vote on entering a contract with the firm at their next meeting, scheduled for Dec. 27. A few members of the board expressed concerns about only receiving one bid when Andrews presented the proposal at the last selectmen’s meeting.

Finance Director Paula Bartlett resigned effective Dec. 18 to accept a job offer from a former employer.

Bartlett, who was promoted to the job permanently this 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.

Andrews said hiring the firm is part of a transition plan and selectmen will decide how to move forward with filling the position, if they decide to do so.

Several other companies expressed interest in the contract but either didn’t have the staffing or experience with the town’s accounting software.

Bartlett’s resignation came at the start of a busy budget season, but Andrews said it is important for the board to consider the firm’s credentials. “We are on our budget schedule. We haven’t missed a beat,” he said.

If selectmen decide to hire Baystate Municipal Services, the firm will work with Andrews, selectmen and the Finance Committee on budget formulation, analysis and review of budgetary controls, Andrews said.

The $25,000 contract through Aug. 15 will require the firm to work 40 hours off-site and 15 hours at Town Hall each week.

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