The voters in Dublin, population 1,575, turned down extra hours for an office assistant, so she is leaving. This made news.

Sentinel Source – Town meeting vote prompts Dublin employee to resign

The important part of the issue is what the voters and budget committee did:

“The committee decided to leave it up to voters, Champagne said, who decided 85-37 by secret ballot not to approve the increase. Of the additional $11,037 requested, $9,720 would have gone toward health insurance and benefits.”

Voters in Dublin decided by a two-to-one margin to prevent expanding municipal payroll. This is how a small town can stay affordable. You watch out for municipal mission creep in every corner of the budget – based on reality. Part of that reality is that voters have a say.

The position of “assistant to the administrator” was 16 hours per week which had creeped up to 28. The selectmen added two hours back on January 1, 2018 so the position provided health insurance.

I was a selectman in a town this size and we had three selectmen and a secretary. Now we have a town administrator and a he has a secretary. It is amazing to me, having been in this position in a time without much in the way of computers, that there is anything for an assistant to the administrator to do.

The voters in Dublin seem to agree. Dublin is an established community.

Police Department – Full-time
Fire Department – Volunteer
Emergency Medical Service – Volunteer
Water Supplier – Private wells
Sanitation Private Septic Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant – No
Solid Waste Disposal Curbside Trash Pickup – None
Pay-As-You-Throw Program – No
Recycling Program – Mandatory

The Highway Crew consists of four people maintaining 40 miles of mostly dirt roads.

The assistant to the town administrator said she would be taking on extra duties like explaining things to residents.

“I have skills and abilities that made it easier for Sherry to increase my responsibilities. So I was doing far more than just the payroll and the accounts payable,” Pack explained, noting that she was able to help residents with questions about things like property assessments.”

This begs the question: What does the town administrator do if the assistant is doing payroll and accounts payable? There are only a handful of employees and accounts payable for a town are pretty routine.

And when it comes to explaining things like property assessments to residents – that is what selectmen are for.

This is where having an elected Budget Committee comes in. They look at facts. If your town or school doesn’t have one, start thinking about adopting RSA 32.