CORNVILLE — Voters at a special town meeting Monday night will be asked if they want to replace the retiring town clerk and town treasurer — two separate people — with a single administrative assistant, similar to a part-time town manager.

The special meeting and voting on five articles is set for 7 p.m. at the Cornville Town Hall on West Ridge Road.

Three of the articles will ask residents to see how much money should be drawn from surplus to cover overdrawn highway accounts — winters roads, summer roads and the highway equipment maintenance account.

Melvin Blaisdell, chairman of the three-member Board of Selectmen, said Evelyn Wood, the current town clerk, tax collector and register of voters has announced her retirement at the end of her term in March. She has been in office for 23 years and said she wants to spend more time with her grandchildren.

Town Treasurer Jane Poulin, who has been in office for about six years, also is retiring.

Blaisdell said if voters approve hiring an administrative assistant, that would mean eliminating the annual salary of the two positions and reducing the pay for each of the selectmen to pay for some of the administrative assistant’s salary.

Selectmen make a total of $17,384 combined salary, with the chairman taking home the bulk of the money, around $10,000 annually. Blaisdell said the chairman’s pay would probably drop to about $2,500 annually, while the pay for the second and third selectmen would be reduced from $3,000 to about $1,200.

“We’ve got a population now of about 1,500 people and the town office is open only 12 hours a week,” Blaisdell said. “With the administrative assistant it would be 30 to 35 hours. It would cost the town much more than it pays now, but the office would be open every day.”

He said Cornville residents have been asking him for the past five years why the town office can’t be open more hours in a week. Blaisdell would not offer an opinion on hiring an administrative assistant.

Wood said she is not entirely sold on the idea.

“It very well may work; but then again it might not,” she said. “The disadvantage that I see is there’s no check and balance between the treasurer and the tax collector/town clerk. It prevents people from doing things they shouldn’t; taking money they shouldn’t. The person that does it is going to have to do the checks and balances of their own.”

If voters do not approve the hiring of an administrative assistant Monday night, then nomination papers will have to be drawn up to be circulated for the two positions in time for balloting during the annual town meeting in March.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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