Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis addresses residents at the Town Meeting in June 2019. Rachel Ohm/Morning Sentinel file

MADISON — Selectmen recently were critical of Town Manager Tim Curtis following the departure of several municipal workers, but both sides say they have resolved some differences and are pledging to move forward in the best interest of the town.

Selectmen raised concerns at a November meeting about the resignation of the road commissioner, the departure of two staffers from the town office and the way Curtis hired a code enforcement position.

The code enforcement issue began in the spring during a review of the municipal budget. Curtis said Friday he had proposed during that time, and again at the Town Meeting in June, bringing in a full-time code enforcement officer and that person would also conduct maintenance work on town buildings. But because he had not yet hired someone for the position, he did not propose a budget line that would fully fund a full-time officer.

Instead, if someone were hired, he planned to use unexpended funds from the previous year’s budget to pay for the rest of the position — as selectmen had previously approved the use of carry-forward funds.

When the position was posted in the summer, Curtis was approached by the foreman working in the highway department expressing interest in the job. The foreman is Curtis’ second cousin, and Curtis had been involved in hiring him as the foreman several years ago. Curtis said in November his family connection to the foreman had been publicly discussed before, so at the time he continued with regular hiring procedures, eventually offering the foreman the job.

But at the November meeting, Selectman Glen Mantor said he believed Curtis “secretly” hired his cousin, and did so without having funding for a full-time position. Selectmen contend the full-time proposal had not been clearly expressed and approved at the Town Meeting.


Curtis responded to Mantor saying he objected to claims he secretly hired the foreman, and he thought the proposal had been clear.

A decision was ultimately made to change the code enforcement role from a full-time post to a per-diem, on-call position. The officer responds as needed to calls for an inspection or permit. Curtis said Friday he plans to come back in the next budget cycle in the spring and ask for funding that allows for a full-time officer.

“Based on this experience that I’ve had with the board, I certainly will present a full-fledged budget for a code officer without giving any thought to relying on carry-forward money,” Curtis said Friday. “If I made a mistake by not being clear enough last year, I want to make sure I’m very clear this year in what I believe the town needs in that position.”

Mantor in November had additionally questioned whether town streets would be plowed given that the road commissioner had resigned and the highway department didn’t have a foreman. But Curtis updated selectmen this month to say that a foreman had since been hired, along with two on-call workers. Town streets were plowed following the weekend snowstorm.

Selectmen also have questioned Curtis about the resignations of the road commissioner, in addition to the town finance director and a deputy clerk.

Curtis said in November he could not say exactly why any of the three chose to resign, but said the town office staff are capable, reliable people, and that in the current job market it is easy for people to find new work that likely pays more than the town can offer.

Curtis, the town manager since 2015, has since hired replacements for the two town office positions, and because Madison’s road commissioner is an elected position, the board appointed Curtis as interim commissioner. He asked that someone with a public works background be appointed interim commissioner, until the next election for the position at Town Meeting.

“If people aren’t happy in their workplace, and they find better work, I’m happy for them, and I wish them the very best,” Curtis said. “I’m pleased to say that the open positions that we’ve had in the town office have been filled, and they’ve been filled by capable people, and I believe that we are moving forward.”

Albert Veneziano, selectmen chairman, said Friday that he did not want to comment on the criticism raised by selectmen, but that he was “very confident” in Curtis moving forward.

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