By Pattie Pacella
Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Selectboard will soon be advertising for a new Finance Director as well as a Town Accountant and Town Administrator.
Town Administrator, Alan Coutinho who has been with the town for more than 20 years, is retiring on June 30. At the Selectboard meeting on Monday, 6/6, the board read two resignation letters, one from Finance Director Cathy Doane, and one from Roberta Oliveira, the Town Accountant; both resigning as of June 30.
Selectboard member Kevin Gaspar Jr. expressed his sadness over Ms. Oliveira’s departure.
“Ms. Oliveira is an employee I value,” he said.
He requested that she put something in writing about her duties and responsibilities so the board gets a better understanding to move forward. He said her salary was paid by four different budgets and he would like to understand what her duties are related to each of the budgets she gets paid from.
“This is something she should put together, not anyone else,” he said.
Selectboard member Mike Cioper asked if the Town Accountant position could be outsourced, to which Mr. Coutinho answered, “No.”
He explained that each town and city has to have a finance director and a town accountant.
Selectboard Chairperson, Garry Rawcliffe said he would like to see an audit done prior to everyone leaving.
“A clean slate for the new people coming in, and it protects the people leaving,” Mr. Rawcliffe said.
Mr. Gaspar said he would recommend a different audit firm than the one the town has been using.
Mr. Coutinho explained that the audit firm would automatically do an audit as scheduled and there would be no need to do another. He also said he was “highly insulted” that the Selectboard wanted to use another firm to audit the books at this point.
“I don’t mean to insult anyone,” Mr. Gaspar said. “We have a mass exit of employees and it would be nice to protect those leaving and a clean slate for those coming in.”
There was a brief discussion on which position should be posted immediately. Mr. Rawcliffe suggested posting the town accountant’s position, while Mr. Coutinho suggested the board post the Finance Director position.
“That position oversees everything,” Mr. Coutinho said. “But you can do what you want.”
“This is all just terrible timing,” Mr. Gaspar said.
The board voted to advertise the position for a director of finance/ town accountant.
In other business, 10-12 residents from Thomas Hill Road were present to complete the process of the road being accepted as a public way. Town Meeting voted to accept the road. The Selectboard needed to vote once again on it.
Mr. Rawcliffe confirmed that all residents signed their petition to accept the road. He asked the residents in the room if any of them were opposed to making it a public way. The neighbors said they were not opposed. Mr. Cioper, who is an abutter, abstained from the vote.
The board briefly discussed positions at the golf course, appointing Brian Ross as the Golf Pro, and discussing about the Golf outside service and pro-shop service positions that are available.
Mr. Rawcliffe said there were no applications attached to the recommendations and that he wanted to see the applications of those who were applying. The board tabled the discussion until the applications were forwarded to them.
Dan Menard of the Board of Public Works was on hand to briefly go over the proposed streets that needed to be tarred and repaired.
The streets included Main Street from New Bedford to Town Hall, River Street, top of Perry Hill Road, Conduit, Ward, Charles and Leonard. He asked with the timing of Mr. Coutinho leaving and no Town Administrator in the interim what he should do about bidding the job out.
Mr. Coutinho said to set the bid opening for June 30th, or the end of that week and they could possibly get it done. Mr. Coutinho is the only procurement officer in town.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Coutinho expressed this is most likely his last meeting with the Selectboard.
“I want to thank the residents of Acushnet,” he said. “And the team that I was very fortunate to work with for the last 20 years. We had a team approach and I’m grateful for the staff. But most importantly I want to thank my wife.”
Mr. Coutinho said she put up with calls through the weekends and at night; and he believes he responded to people in a timely manner.
In other business, the Selectboard approved a little league car wash at the fire station for June 18th.
The board also discussed a memo sent from the City of New Bedford to help take “Morning Glory” flower seeds off any shelves that are visible to the public at stores in town. The memo expressed that teenagers are using the seeds as a way to get high.
“Sad situation,” Mr. Gaspar said. “What’s next?” •••
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