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Ferrisburgh board sets leadership, rules

FERRISBURGH — At Tuesday’s annual organizational meeting the Ferrisburgh selectboard re-elected longtime board member Loretta Lawrence as its chairwoman, set the hours and pay for new town treasurer Deb Healey, and decided on a new audit of the town’s books to make sure all is in order after what the board believes was sub-par performance by the town’s previous treasurer.
As well as making Lawrence a unanimous pick to lead the board, members chose Michael “Red” Muir as the selectboard’s vice chairman and new Selectman Rick Ebel as its clerk.
The board essentially will ask Healey to work the same hours and for the same pay as the former treasurer — up to 35 hours a week for $18.50 an hour.
But Lawrence said Healey has agreed to work on an hourly basis and, unlike she said was the case in recent years, will fill out time sheets.
That arrangement will change as of July 1, when the new fiscal year begins in Ferrisburgh. The spending plan the board adopted for the 2017-2018 fiscal year budgets for a 20-hour-a-week treasurer, and Healey’s hours will be adjusted at that point.
The selectboard believes, and the head of the town’s auditing firm, RHR Smith, stated at the board’s Jan. 17 meeting, that a collective 100 hours a week is needed to operate town offices. If Clerk Gloria Warden and Assistant Clerk Pam Cousino work full 40 hours a week, the treasurer’s 20 would bring the total up to the amount.
However, Lawrence noted, “to be fair to Deb,” the extra hours between now and July would allow her to learn the ropes and get the town’s books in order.
Lawrence said on Wednesday that Healey could not make the Tuesday meeting, and that Healy and the board would meet to establish hours during which she would be available to the public.
“We haven’t sat down with her about the schedule yet,” Lawrence said.
As for the audit, Lawrence said the most recent one RHR Smith completed dates back to June 2016. That audit stated that some accounts were not reconciled, bank deposits had not been made in a timely manner, and fund balances were not recorded.
Lawrence said board members want to uncover any problems that have cropped up since June, and Lawrence said she planned to contact RHR Smith on Wednesday.
“We want it done as soon as possible,” she said. 

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