The Town Council voted to approve add to the Town Auditor’s duties so he is also the Assistant Town Manager for Finance.
The move follows the recommendations of a personnel study done by the Collins Center at UMass-Boston, and the state which recommends that the treasurer, auditor, assessor, and purchasing positions be combined under a financial director.
The Personnel and Town Organization subcommittee recommended the move, under which Town Auditor Tom Tracy would “oversee and monitor all financial management staff, assist with budget preparation and undertake other financial responsibilities as assigned by the Town Manager (Michael Driscoll).”
As Assistant Town Manager for Finance, Tracy would report partially to Driscoll, but would be supervised for his duties as the Auditor to the Town Council. Town Councilor Tony Palomba said he wondered to whom the Auditor would report.
Town Councilor Susan Falkoff, a member of the Personnel and Town Organization subcommittee, said it has been done in other communities.
“We had a discussion about this,” Falkoff said. “There is a similar situation in Lexington and they said it works pretty well.”
Councilor Angeline Kounelis worried about the Auditor losing his objectivity if he is auditing the budget and reporting to the Town Manager.
The Town Council will retain the ability to hire and fire the Town Auditor, even with the added responsibilities, said Town Councilor Vincent Piccirilli.
Town Council President Mark Sideris said ideally a new financial management position would be created and a new person hired.
“We didn’t hire a new person for the position because we thought it was not appropriate to add a position,” Sideris said.
Tracy is the second Assistant Town Manager, along with Steve Magoon who also works on special projects and also is director of the Community Development and Planning Department.