Alna sets special vote on clerks’ pay

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 8:45am

    Still looking to land a town clerk, Alna selectmen have a new plan. Sept. 21, they set a 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 special town meeting at the fire station. The lone article, after picking the moderator, seeks voters’ OK to negotiate terms of employment for the clerk and deputy clerk. 

    Those terms would be ones selectmen “deem to be in the best interests of the town,” the question reads. According to it and a note that follows it on the warrant, the board would keep the terms within the spending approved for the two jobs at the annual town meeting in March: $27,000 for clerk; $20,000 for deputy clerk.

    Due to the fewer hours worked in the town office this fiscal year that started in February, there is enough funding to pay more than the wages voters approved as part of the March warrant article, Selectman Ed Pentaleri has said. But because that article pegged the hourly wages, the special town meeting is needed to let the board up them, he explained in the Sept. 21 meeting at the town office and over Zoom.

    “Believe me, we wouldn’t be going to the public asking for a special town meeting if we thought we could avoid it, but we really think this is ... to have a hope of making better progress in this recruitment effort.”

    After Lisa Arsenault resigned as clerk mid-summer, selectmen voted for one who later declined; with the $20 wage cap for clerk, continued efforts have been hard in this labor market, Pentaleri said. Deputy Clerk Lynette Eastman has been serving as interim clerk. “She is extremely knowledgeable, professional, well-liked and universally respected (and could) serve as town clerk blindfolded and with one arm tied behind her back,” but does not want to be the permanent one, Pentaleri explained before proposing the Sept. 29 vote.

    Pentaleri reiterated how fortunate Alna is to have Eastman’s service.

    He told Eastman, “Lynette, we all know that if you walked out the door, we’d be in a world of hurt.”

    “Well, thank you, for saying so,” she said.

    Also Sept. 21, Pentaleri reported the latest repairs are done at Alna Meetinghouse, including replacing a lot of clapboards and addressing a window casing so rotted, the main thing left was the paint.

    Pentaleri read aloud a Sept. 15 letter from Georgetown thanking Alna for its quick response to an Aug. 13 brush fire in that Sagadahoc County town. “It is encouraging ... that neighbors are still looking out for neighbors, even across town lines,” the letter read. It asked Alna’s selectboard and fire chief to pass along Georgetown’s “gratitude and thanks” to the firefighters who went.