CHELSEA — Residents will see two new faces at the Town Office.

Cynthia Burnham, of Litchfield is the new town clerk and Susan Phelps, of Palermo is the new part-time office assistant.

Interim Town Manager Scott Tilton said Burnham, who for three years served as deputy clerk in Litchfield, started Wednesday; Phelps, who works at the Palermo Town Office, will start next week.

Burnham said it’s an “exciting new day” for Chelsea.

“It’s a pleasure to be here and I’m looking forward to serving the people of Chelsea,” she said Thursday.

Tilton announced the names of the new hires at Wednesday’s selectmen’s meeting. He said Burnham will work 33 hours a week and receive $14.50 an hour with health insurance.

“She came with prior experience and certainly has hit the ground running,” Tilton said. “She came in and registered vehicles and was doing reports. You wouldn’t expect a person who hadn’t been here longer than that to be able to do it without help. Her experience was definitely a benefit.”

Phelps will work eight to nine hours a week Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at a rate of $12 an hour. Tilton said she will continue with her part-time position at the Palermo Town Office.

“The (Town Office) schedule is going to change effective July 26,” he said. “We’re going to go to a four-day work week and be open from 8 to 4:30 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and open until 5:30 on Wednesdays.”

The hours were cut back after Town Clerk Flavia “Cookie” Kelley took personal leave in May.

Selectmen on Wednesday voted to hold a special town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Togus Veterans Theater to see if residents will agree to a $25,000 settlement with Kelley, who has threatened to sue the town over the validity of her contract.

Tilton also announced at Wednesday’s meeting that Carole Swan, the ex-selectman who is facing charges for allegedly taking kickbacks for town contracts, has declined an alternate seat on the Planning Board.

Swan was elected as a write-in candidate at last month’s municipal election with four votes.

“I got a fax from her lawyer,” Tilton said. “It said she appreciated people’s votes and that kind of thing, but it’s not something she wants to do.”

In other business, selectmen made minor modifications to an appointment policy Tilton proposed. He said changes will be made and brought back to selectmen at their next meeting for approval.

“Then I’m going to start posting in public places and on the website available positions,” he said. “The policy will make sure everyone gets a fair shake.”

The board also directed Tilton to begin the process for establishing a charter commission. The commission will be charged with drafting a town charter to be discussed in public hearings then voted on at a town meeting.

“Once we have permission from (townspeople), then we will move forward with the election of commissioners,” he said. “There will be six to nine elected commissioners and selectmen will appoint three.”

Selectmen Michael Pushard and Benjamin Smith on Wednesday authorized board chairman Linda Leotsakos to enter into negotiations with Tilton for the position of town manager.

Tilton was hired as interim town manager June 15.

He has expressed interest in staying on as the permanent town manager. Selectmen will vote on this at their next meeting, he said.

“In the meantime Linda and I will negotiate and she’ll present something to the board in executive session,” he said. “If there’s an agreement, it will be announced in public session.”

The next selectmen’s meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on July 27 at the Grange hall on Togus Road.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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