FARMINGTON — Selectmen voted 4-1 Tuesday night, Dec. 28, to hire Berry-Talbot-Royer, a Certified Public Accountant firm in Falmouth to carry out many tasks previously completed by the town’s treasurer.

Treasurer LucyAnn Cook resigned earlier this month and only one application was received for the position, Town Manager Christian Waller said. The person was not qualified, he noted.

The firm would be able to meet the town’s immediate and future business management needs, Waller said. Naming a treasurer to perform other duties would still be needed, he noted.

Town Clerk Leanne Dickey has almost 30 years experience with the town, Waller said. She could be alleviated of some duties to take on duties the treasurer had been handling, he noted. She would be compensated accordingly, he added.

The firm’s proposal had two options: $8,000 per week or $90,000 per year for three years. A withdrawal clause for either party is included with the longer one.

The firm is one of two in the state that does municipal audits and is expanding what it provides, Waller said. It has sufficient staff to meet the needs from expansion, Waller noted. Farmington uses the other firm for its audits, he added.

Resident Dennis O’Neil wanted to know how many municipalities the firm worked with, how many employees it had and if attending meetings would be in addition to the contracted amount. “It sounds a little like building a plane while you are flying it,” he said.

Meeting attendance would be part of the contract, Waller said. Answers to the other questions were not given.

The firm could start once the proposal was accepted and could easily integrate their processes with the new system the town just entered into with Bangor Savings Bank, Waller replied to questions from Selectman Scott Landry.

“One of the Oxford County commissioners couldn’t say enough positive about them getting a confusing situation straightened out,” Waller said. He planned to reach out next week to officials in Greenwood who have also used the firm.

Selectmen Matthew Smith, Stephan Bunker, Michael Fogg and Landry were in favor of entering the three-year contract. Selectman Joshua Bell was opposed as he wanted time to read the contract and meet with the partners. Discussing the proposal was the agenda item listed, he added.

A few years ago the town moved from having an assessor in the office to working with a large company that is only in the office on some Thursdays, Fogg noted. It’s different than having an assessor in his own office, this will be different also, another way of doing business, he said.

Bunker supported Waller’s recommendation, noting he didn’t plan to micromanage.

Smith was concerned about year end tasks and wanted to move forward as quickly as possible.

“It doesn’t make sense to go through the random process twice if this is the right entity to be doing business with in the first place,” Waller said. “I’m confident they are.”

A meeting will be set up between the firm’s partners and the selectmen for next week. Selectmen will be provided a copy of the contract which will also be reviewed by the town’s attorney.


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