Wellesley council will have to wait until May for the final consultants report on whether or not they should hire a new tax collector – a timeline that has some councillors seeing red. “I have an issue with how long it’s taking,” said Coun. Shelley Wagner. “May 15th (they) will be coming back to council, and so we’ve been sitting in a position for two months having somebody evaluate this.
“Was there anyone else who could come sooner?”
The New Hamburg-based financial consultant Barcon was contacted following the Mar. 5 council meeting, and has scheduled a series of interviews with township staff on Apr. 12, and the review process will take an additional four weeks.
Township operations manager Willis McLaughlin explained to Wagner that there was no one else who had the same experience with the township as Barcon, and if they had hired someone else, it likely would have taken longer for the review to be completed while they got up to speed with the situation.
“We weren’t happy with the timeline either, but the alternatives aren’t too rosy,” he said. “It’s the best we could do.”
The consultant has been hired to review the township’s need to employ a new tax collector, a position that has gone unfilled since the end of December and has forced other staff to pick up the slack in the meantime.
But the workload is so high that the position needs to be filled quickly and made full-time, director of finance Diane Lorbetski told councillors at the Mar. 5 meeting, saying they were short 1,820 hours of work per year that current staff couldn’t cover.
In a split vote, 3-2, councillors decided to hire a consultant to determine the necessity of hiring a new tax collector at the recommended starting hourly rate of $25.75, or $46,865.00 annually.
The consultant will cost between $8,400 and $9,600 for seven to eight days of consulting time, plus HST and mileage, which will come from the 2012 HR Committee budget of $30,000.
Coun. Jim Olender also expressed his frustration with the township’s lack of foresight in the situation.
“We could have had a part-timer in there from December until now,” he said. “Knowing this was coming up and that we didn’t have a replacement for the person that was leaving, that person could have been asked to stay on until this was resolved.”
The consultant will conduct 30-minute interviews on Apr. 12 with key members of council, the finance department, finance staff, and internal customers of the finance department. At the Mar. 27 meeting the consultant will provide more details on timelines and costs, along with an interview schedule.