CLARKSBURG -- Town Administrator Tom Webb will return a $500 stipend intended for a member of the Board of Assessors after discussion at a town staff meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Webb received the stipend, which is intended for education and certification, on top of the $8,500 he received for serving as the town's Principal Assessor, a position he has held since last August.
"He can't have both. It's never been done," Administrative Assistant Debbie Choquette said.
A total of $500 was allotted for assessor stipends for fiscal year 2014, she said. Board of Selectmen Chairman Carl McKinney, who has served on the Board of Assessors since 2009, declined to accept this year's stipend. McKinney has since resigned as assessor, after a state-issued report expressed concern over him serving as both a selectman and assessor.
There is no money left to compensate Board of Assessor member Glen Beverly, Choquette said, after Webb requested and received the $500 stipend this August.
McKinney said Webb will have to return the $500. Finance Committee Chairman Mark Denault agreed.
"You can't get paid $8,500 and $500 on top of that. It's like a $500 bonus for doing your job," Denault said.
Webb maintained that he was entitled to the stipend because he was acting as chairman of the Board of Assessors.
"You'll find in a lot of towns the principal assessor acts as chairman," Webb said to Denault.
Part of the meeting was spent debating the Board of Assessor's past composition, as well as the
Selectman Jeff Levanos expressed frustration about the issue, which he noted had sparked some discontent among employees at Town Hall.
"I don't understand why all this has to come to [the board]," he said. "This is what we have a Town Administrator for."
Accountant Christa Marsh said she was following state Department of Revenue (DOR) practices when she contacted Selectmen about the issue.
Choquette told Levanos she did not want to approach Webb on the matter, as he is the link between town employees and the Board of Selectmen.
"I know it's about him, but it's not like he ripped it off," Levanos said. "He thought he was right, you didn't think he was right."
Levanos also expressed concern over the town's financial record keeping, which was the subject of a DOR Financial Management Review.
The Finance Committee has requested information about the town's finances from Marsh and Tax Collector/Treasurer Melissa McGovern, but has yet to receive them, he said. In addition, the town's books have not been reconciled by the 15th of each month as agreed upon.
"I don't like being at a Finance Committee being chastised because we dropped the ball," Levanos said.
"[Webb] doesn't have the power to hire and fire, but we do," he continued. "And if it's one person we have to dismiss or two, we will. This has to be taken care of."
To reach Edward Damon,