CORNVILLE — Nomination papers are due Feb. 1 for municipal positions left open following a failed vote last month to hire an administrative assistant.

Voters at a special town meeting Dec. 19 rejected a proposal to replace the retiring town clerk and town treasurer — two separate people — with a single administrative assistant, similar to a part-time town manager.

Evelyn Wood, the current town clerk, tax collector and register of voters, announced her retirement at the end of her term in March. She has been in office for 23 years.

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

“It was defeated because it was a tie vote,” Wood said. “It was 21 to 21 — they are going to elect the positions, just like they always have for a 3-year term.”

Wood said the town could possibly revisit the question in three years, when the new term of office is up.

Melvin Blaisdell, chairman of the three-member Board of Selectmen, said so far there is at least one candidate for each of the two positions.

“They just thought that we didn’t need a full time person,” Blaisdell said of the vote to hire an administrative assistant. “I didn’t care either way. I had so many people ask me, that’s why we brought it to a vote.”

Hiring an administrative assistant would have meant 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 have dropped to about $2,500 annually, while the pay for the second and third selectmen would have been 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.”

Wood said the disadvantage of hiring an administrative assistant would be the elimination of the checks and balances of local government — separate people doing the town books and handling town money.

Voting on the open positions will take place as part of the annual town meeting in March.

Chris Poulin’s term on the Board of Selectmen expires this year and also will be on the ballot for a three-year term.

The position of road commissioner also is on the ballot for a one-year term and there is one open seat on the school board for a three-year term.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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