CHELSEA — Selectmen discussed the elimination of a Town Office position, restructuring the Budget Committee, accumulated staff overtime costs and winter plowing Wednesday.

More than 40 people attended the 3 1/2-hour meeting at the Chelsea Elementary School, where meetings have been moved to accomodate more people since Selectman Carole Swan was arrested Feb. 10 in a corruption probe.

Despite a judge amending Swan’s bail conditions to allow her to attend selectmen’s meetings to conduct town business, the embattled town official did not attend Wednesday’s meeting. It was the second time selectmen have met since her arrest.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Linda Leotsakos and Selectman Michael Pushard voted not to fill a part-time clerk position held by Arlene Roderick, who recently resigned.

“Selectmen decided not to fill that position and are looking at staffing as part of the new budget,” town attorney Stephen Langsdorf said.

Leotsakos said the Budget Committee will be restructured to assist with the development of next year’s budget proposal but will continue to assist through the next fiscal year.

She said members will meet with the town manager and selectmen periodically to review expenses and revenues and discuss concerns or any issues that may have been unknown at the time the budget was approved.

Leotsakos said residents interested in serving on the Budget committee should let the town manager know by April 21 through email or phone, or by dropping by the Town Office.

Selectmen also discussed personnel policy.

“We’re looking at overtime issues,” Langsdorf said. “There’s been some payment for overtime to Town Office staff. It’s something selectmen are concerned about and want to look into.

Selectmen also discussed the town’s winter maintenance contract, at attempted to determine whether one is in place for next year.

“We haven’t actually seen a signed contract,” Langsdorf said. “So there was a lot of discussion on whether we should rebid that out and how we should handle it.”

Current contract holder Frank Monroe Construction was paid $19,380 at the March 31 selectmen’s meeting for plowing. Swan faces four criminal charges accusing her of accepting kickbacks in 2010 from Monroe, a Whitefield contractor who retained his $90,000-per-year plow contract without bidding in 2010.

Swan is accused of aggravated forgery, attempted theft and two counts of improper compensation for services.

“A town charter also was discussed, but it’s not something that we’ll be able to do at this town meeting,” Langsdorf said. “It’s a more lengthy, elaborate process. But there’s a lot of interest in having a charter, so we’ll be moving forward with that.”

Langsdorf said a separate assessors meeting followed the selectmen’s meeting Wednesday, but most of the items were tabled. “They did agreed the town needs professional help with assessments,” he said.

Selectmen also discussed:

* Governance and ordinance issues, which Langsdorf said will be addressed at the Town Meeting in June. Issues include crafting a purchasing ordinance and a disbursement warrant ordinance to set forth rules for how bills are paid. The document would also will allow flexibility for selectmen to come into the Town Office and sign warrants to pay bills without holding meetings.

* A flood plain management ordinance that has to be written and submitted to the state by June 16.

* Creation of a board of assessment to review appeals for tax abatements. Currently, appeals have been handled by the county commissioner’s office, Langsdorf said.

* To see if the town has any surplus property that can be sold to help with the budget. Also an ordinance may be needed that lays out rules for selling surplus property.

* Legal requirements regarding town reports.

Langsdorf said selectmen meetings are now held at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at the school. Leotsakos is unable to attend the next meeting, so it has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 26.

Mechele Cooper — 623-3811, ext. 408

[email protected]

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