Published in the April 7, 2016 edition


NORTH READING – For the Fiscal 2017 budget year that begins July 1, Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto is requesting funds to restructure the town’s Human Resources Office with the creation of a full-time Human Resources Director position and a 30 hour position of a benefits coordinator. This would be a change from the current staffing of one 35-hour a week person whose responsibilities include both items.

The proposed new position would be budgeted at up to $85,000 and Gilleberto said he realized that it, like everything else in the budget, will have to be reconciled against the availability of funds. “But this is something I think we can benefit from.”

None of the Selectmen disagreed that more support in needed in this area, but Selectman Michael Prisco suggested going in a different direction.

Prisco suggested “the right direction” would be to create the position of an assistant town administrator, which he felt would be a better value for the town. “Maybe that person could have strong HR skills that could assist our HR staff,” he said. Prisco said he’s sat there for six years, sees what goes on in town hall and thinks support could be better used elsewhere.

Kathryn Manupelli disagreed. She could see the “definite need” for a Human Resources Director to allow Gilleberto to address “whatever crises or non-crises that occur here, “she said. “There’s an awful lot on his plate.”

Stephen O’Leary said he was less concerned with what they call the position. “The title is unimportant to me. We have an overwhelming workload that’s been issue for years and my guess is that most of it is Human Resources related.

“There’s no doubt this is absolutely a need and that we’ve been operating on a shoestring.”

Chairman Robert Mauceri agreed there is a clear need for additional help and suggested Gilleberto leave the title off the position and just decide what the responsibilities would be.

“Leave the title off the job, just define what the person’s role will be,” he suggested.

Prisco thought that was a great suggestion. “What takes up all of your time, what distracts your attention from our strategic plan?” he asked.

“I think you’ll find when you write this down that, it will lead you toward someone who’s very strong in personnel. They can do many different things for you if they take a lot of that stuff off your plate,” Prisco said.

The T.A. said he appreciated the board’s “constructive response” and will be back with a proposal in the next few weeks.