A Special Town Meeting in Ayer on Oct. 23 agreed to petition the Legislature to change the town administrator position to a town manager and expand the position’s authority over personnel matters, while changing the town clerk, treasurer-collector and tree warden from elected to appointed positions.
If the special act is approved by the Legislature, the town’s Personnel Board would be eliminated and the town manager would have authority over the personnel system.
The town manager would be able to hire and fire non-department head positions in consultation with the respective department head, without approval of the Board of Selectmen, save for the Fire Department, where the chief will continue to make those decisions.
Currently, the Board of Selectmen votes on such changes based on recommendations from the town administrator.
The town manager would be able to sign payroll warrants and fix employee compensation, based on the budget approved at Town Meeting and in coordination with the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee.
Finally, the town manager would be able to procure and execute all contracts under the state’s Uniform Procurement Act for supplies, services and real property without Board of Selectmen approval, and would have full jurisdiction over rental and use of town facilities.
The town administrator, Robert Pontbriand, would continue to serve as the town manager through the length of his contract. The current town clerk, treasurer-collector and tree warden would all serve the remainder of their elected terms, at which point the Board of Selectmen would make appointments for each position.

Written by Daniel DeMaina, Associate Editor