The town of Wendell’s surprise announcement last week that it was hiring an assistant to the town manager comes at an awkward time.
Apparently approved as part of the budget, but not singled out as a line item or a new position, the assistant to the town manager will be expected to carry out far more substantial responsibilities that someone in a clerical role. But the position falls short of serving as an assistant manager which would likely mean having direct responsibility for the position.
The logic in creating the position, we learned afterward, is that town manager Teresa Piner was spread so thin, she wasn’t able to do her job as well as she would like. Anyone with more than a cursory knowledge of Piner’s work can certainly understand that she is pulled in a million different directions. It certainly is not an 8-5 job. And, frankly, it won’t be even with the addition of this new position.
The decision to give the manager some help comes at a time when other departments have asked for additional help and were denied. Both the planning department and the police department have asked for extra help and were turned down.
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The town’s decision to create a new position isn’t one of adding a layer of fat. Wendell’s staff is lean. But it will be hard to explain why the boss got help when others were denied.