Gardiner residents may experience some delays while getting help at City Hall in the short term, but a staff reorganization approved by City Council Wednesday night is expected to save at least $40,000 annually starting next year. Those projected savings will help in next year’s budget process, when the city expects to face a shortfall of several hundred thousand dollars, said City Manager Scott Morelli.

Both the city clerk and the deputy city clerk had their last days this week, so the city only has one full-time staffer and one part-timer in the front office. As part of the reorganization approved Wednesday, the city will eliminate the deputy clerk position and cross train other front office staff to better serve residents, Morelli said.

The finance director, Denise Brown, will take on additional office management duties, and the city clerk position will go from a department head to a working clerk.

The reorganization process will take a couple of months, and the city will likely have a new city clerk by January, Morelli said. Until then, he said there will likely be delays at times for people needing assistance at the front office.

“The public’s going to notice that,” Morelli said. “There may be longer lines at City Hall, so we’re asking them to bear with us.”

The savings will come primarily from the city not filling the deputy clerk position, which is vacant following Ruth Glaeser leaving Wednesday for a job with the town of Durham. That’s expected to save almost $46,000, according to the proposal sent to City Council. The former city clerk, Deirdre Berglund, left after Tuesday for a job with the state at Information Resource of Maine, Morelli said.

Another $9,000 in savings will come from reducing the duties of the city clerk, but there will be about $10,000 in additional expenses for the additional duties of the finance director, the executive assistant and the planning administrative assistant.

The city will see some savings this year, but most of that will be spent on reorganizing the physical layout of the office, Morelli said. Starting next fiscal year, the city will save an estimated $40,000 to $45,000 annually, he said

“Overall, it’s going to be a good thing. It’s just going to take some time to get there,” Morelli said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig

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