Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Brewster is taking steps to fill several posts

Mon 10 August 2009

(Left: Brewster's fire service is one of four local services where key posts will be falling vacant)

The help wanted signs are going up in Brewster.

Within the next year the town will need a new fire chief, town clerk, water superintendent and council on aging director. Those are four good paying positions, ranging from $58,000 to $91,000 (in 2008) with all the seniority and so forth factored in, so they won’t go vacant.

The search for replacements is under way.

Water Department head Paul Hicks will retire on Nov. 23. The job has already been advertised and town administrator Charles Sumner told the selectmen that applications are streaming in.

The selectmen praised the job Hicks has done and noted the department has a good reputation. It also has a brand new headquarters on Freeman’s Way, completed this year.

“I expect the new person to start before next year,” Sumner noted.

Fire Chief Roy Jones has not set a definite date for his retirement, but it will be by May 1, of 2010.

Mindful of the length of time it took Orleans to find a new fire chief, Sumner wants to get rolling. Selectmen Ed Lewis and Greg Levasseur are going to meet with Sumner to rewrite the job description, which dates from 1985. They’ll bring it to the board by the first week in September and let Jones take a look at it as well. Then it will be advertised locally and in municipal publications with an end date in November.

“The job and world have changed since 9/11,” selectman James Foley noted.

The next step will be to recruit a citizen search committee – anyone interested in being on it should send a resume and cover letter to Lewis, in care of the Town Hall. They’ll sift through the applications in December and choose the top five for the selectmen to interview. Lewis hopes to have the interviews done by Feb. 1, 2010.

“I think we have to choose by then,” he said.

“I urge you to advertise semi-nationally, at least as far as the Mississippi to get the kind of person you want,” Jones suggested, noting that that takes more time. “One of the big mistakes Orleans made is it did not anticipate the lead time.”

While Lewis and Peter Norton would like to wait until a new chief is on board some board members felt they should begin discussing shared services with other towns.

“I believe shared services is a policy decision and policy should start at this board,” Foley said. “Harwich is interested. Station 2 in Harwich is closer to sections in South Brewster than the Brewster Fire Station. I don’t think we compromise bringing in a new chief by discussing this.”

The spring town meting voted to make the town clerk an appointed rather than elected position. Mitzi Unger, who was elected and well respected, will step down in May of 2010.

While appointing a clerk will be a new experience the selectmen aren’t too concerned. The same committee reviewing Jones’ job description will “tweak” the clerk’s position,

Council on aging director Jean Sears will work her last day on Aug. 21, three weeks away.

“We’re losing a lot of special people. She has been a tremendous person for the town of Brewster for a number of years,” Lewis declared.

Denise Rego will handle the position on an interterm basis once Sears leaves. Representatives from the COA, Jillian Douglass, Dyanne Cooney and Sumner will interview applicants.

Text credit: Rich Eldred
Reprinted with permission from The Cape Codder newspaper, Orleans, Massachusetts USA; http://www.wickedlocapecod

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