Great Barrington officials cool to suggestion of operations manager post

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GREAT BARRINGTON — A proposal by Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin to create a position of operations manger received a cool initial reception this week from town officials.

The idea was raised during a joint meeting of the Selectboard and Finance Committee as officials began deliberations on the fiscal 2017 town budget.

The preliminary budget, which is available on the town website, www.townofgb.org, is $30.4 an increase of 1.3 percent over this year's budget.

But if the town's assessment to the Berkshire Hills Regional School District remains level, the town's tax rate would rise to $15.15 per $1,000 of property value, an increase of about 86 cents — a 6 percent increase.

The two boards this week centered on the General Government budget, which stands at $1.7 million, an increase of about $96.000. The two boards will take up other aspects of the budget in subsequent meetings.

Tabakin's suggestion for an operations manager would be a full-time position whose duties would include a host of activities, including grant writing, which, in theory, could pay at least partly for the position.

No one on either board was seemed sold on the idea.

"So we've been functioning for 25 years without an assistant town manager, and now we have to fund one?" asked Selectman Daniel Bailly.

"I'm not calling it an assistant town manager," Tabakin replied.

"Well, I am," Bailly said.

Selectman Chairman Sean Stanton suggested Tabakin come up with a concrete job description for the post. Finance committee member Leigh Davis asked Tabakin to provide a list of other towns who have such a position. Tabakin agreed to both requests by the next meeting.

"I understand the need for a full-time position with a competitive salary," Stanton said. "But it's a big pill to swallow. I think I'd like to see some details of the position fleshed out a bit."

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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