Phillipston hires CAO assistant

  • From left — Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Flynn, Vice Chair John Telepciak, Chair Kim Pratt, and member Terry Dymek at a recent Phillipston Selectboard meeting.

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 10/28/2019 9:55:11 PM
Modified: 10/28/2019 9:55:05 PM

PHILLIPSTON — At its meeting last Wednesday, the Selectboard approved the hiring of Felisha Foisy as administrative assistant to Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Flynn, but the vote was not unanimous.

In a telephone interview, Flynn explained, “Felisha has held the position of administrative assistant for the Fire Department, which we’ve had for a while. In this office, there has been an administrative assistant for a long time. I have not filled that position since I’ve been here; I just decided to try and save the taxpayers some money and try to handle that myself. I’ve used some senior tax workers, and they’ve done a very good job. But we’re getting to the point that the level of work just requires more hours than what I can do with senior tax workers.”

The town has a program under which senior citizens can devote several hours to the town in exchange for receiving a break on their annual property tax bills.

“So, after talking it over with the board,” said Flynn, “it was decided to go back to the system we had, where there was a second person in the office – a secretarial part time.”

In addition to assisting Flynn in the CAO’s office, Foisy will be expected to attend selectboard meetings, where she will take notes of the meetings and compose meeting minutes, among other duties.

“Obviously,” Flynn continued, “she’ll be making more money because she’ll be putting in more hours. Her hourly rate will remain the same, and that rate is commensurate with her responsibility. This is a position that has a great deal of exposure to confidential materials, such as employee personnel records, legal documents, and information that’s confidential as it relates to contracts and activities that are going on that are privileged information. She’s really at the level of a confidential secretary, so she’s compensated at that level.”

Flynn told the board last week that Foisy’s rate of pay will be around $18 per hour. She will continue to split her time between the Fire Department and Flynn’s office, spending 20 hours per week at each location.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Selectboard Chair Kim Pratt and Finance Committee Co-Chair Tom Specht voiced concern about moving Foisy into the CAO’s office at this time, stating it was their opinion the town was essentially creating a new full-time position, which also carries with it full-time benefits. Both felt it would have been best to wait and let voters approve the move at the annual town meeting in the spring.

However, Flynn explained, the position already existed – it simply hasn’t been filled for some time – and that benefits, such as health insurance, are already in the town budget.

“Both positions are already in place,” he said. “The funding is already in place for those two positions. So, there’s no additional funding required. Only about half of our employees who are eligible for health insurance actually take it.”

Flynn also said the town has long allowed individuals to serve simultaneously in multiple part-time positions in order to ensure those jobs are staffed. He added it is his intention to maintain the part-time status of the administrative assistant positions for both his office and the Fire Department.

The board’s vote to allow Flynn to hire Foisy as his administrative assistant was 2-1, with Vice Chair John Telepciak and member Terry Dymek voting in the affirmative, and Pratt voting “no.”

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