LITCHFIELD — A person familiar with the town will fill the vacant town manager’s position until selectmen can find a permanent replacement.

Selectmen on July 2 appointed Trudy Lamoreau as the town’s interim town manager. Lamoreau had previously served as the deputy tax collector.

Lamoreau was hired to replace Michael Byron, whose contract was terminated during a selectmen’s meeting on June 26.

In a related personnel shift, Code Enforcement Officer Steve Ochmanski has been appointed acting road commissioner, which Byron also had filled.

Byron was in the second year of a two-year contract that paid $58,500 annually. That left no funding to hire another person to serve as interim town manager, said Board of Selectmen Chairman Rayna Leibowitz. Lamoreau was willing to accept the temporary assignment. Selectmen adjusted her salary to compensate her for the increased responsibility, but Leibowitz, who did not have access to town paperwork, didn’t know the amount of that increase.

“We really felt as though we needed someone in that chair sooner rather than later,” Leibowitz said.

Selectmen opted to terminate Byron’s contract last month for unspecified reasons. The contract was set to expire Dec. 31, but allowed the town to end his employment without cause in the second year. Byron, who serves as a city councilor in Augusta, said selectmen had expressed dissatisfaction with what he described as minor things, such as a failure to evaluate front office staff or redraft the personnel policy.

Byron said he was able to make strides in the day-to-day operation of the town and is proud of his effort to raise the rainy day fund to $1.2 million to help moderate tax increases.

Byron said Tuesday that his severance pay, which includes 60 days pay and accrued vacation time, will total about $12,000. He would have been paid about $30,000 if he worked until the end of the year.

Lamoreau was appointed interim tax collector at the same June meeting during which Byron was fired, but she was not appointed to the interim town manager’s position until July 2. Leibowitz said the board needed the delay to determine the best course to follow.

“This process was not one we had done before,” she said. “We needed to make sure we were proceeding appropriately.”

Selectmen are inviting residents to put their names on a list in the town office if they wish to be involved in the process of finding a new permanent town manager. Leibowitz said the process could take time to complete as selectmen review all the duties of the town manager. Part of that review, she said, will include a discussion of scaling back hours.

“There’s some discussion that perhaps we don’t need a town manager for 40 hours a week, or 32 hours a week,” Leibowitz said. “We’re going to examine that just a little bit.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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