Town Meeting members voted nearly unanimously last night on two warrant articles to add new positions to the town payroll.
The first article was to approve $61,340 for an Accounting Budget Analyst to assist the Town Accountant and the second was to approve $51,587 to fund the position of a Human Resources Assistant.
Town Administrator Robert Mercier pushed for both positions. He said the town has not added new positions in years, but that in his view these two positions were needed to keep the town on track and operating smoothly.
"In other departments we've tried to restore old positions but not add new positions," Mercier said. "Tonight we're asking for two new positions."
The Board of Selectmen and Ways & Means both voted to recommend the positions to Town Meeting.
Town Accountant Paul Sagarino Jr., also wrote a letter to Town Meeting to push for the budget analyst position, citing among other things that towns with budgets similar to Burlington have more assistant staff for the Town Accountant Office and that the position would allow more timely financial reporting to town board and Town Meeting.
Mercier argued at the meeting that adding the position would help ensure timely and accurate information for Town Meeting members and other boards, an essential ingredient in making the right decisions when facing financial questions.
"Information is a paramount necessity and when you are making decisions you need all the information and a budget analyst will help get that," he said. "One mistake could cost the town more than the salary for the position."
The position was approved nearly unanimously.
On the human resources assistant, Mercier said the position was greatly needed in town. He said that Human Resources Director Joanne is involved in all human resources decision and recruitment procedures and that the work is overwhelming for one person.
“I don’t know how she does it, to be honest with you," he said of Faust's responsibilities. "She is involved in all the searches for employees and is involved in some now. As those of you who have some background in human resources know, if don’t do everything right, subject yourself to a lot of challenges."
Mercier added that area towns have a higher ration of human resources person ell with decision-making authority than Burlington. For example, he said Braintree has one human resources person for every 500 employees, Long Meadow has one for every 300 employees and Concord has one human resources person for every 175 employees. Burlington, by contrast, has one human resources director for 950 full- and part-time employees.
"Adding this position would put us in the middle," he said. "We'd have one person for every 450 employees."
That article was passed nearly unanimously as well.
Town Meeting concluded last night and Burlington Patch will provide stories on other decisions made by members. Is there something specific you would like to hear about? If so, let us know in the comments or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.