By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – Town officials are considering whether they should eliminate three custodial positions and replace those employees with two part-time assistants. Town Manager Jim Malloy presented this option to the Board of Selectmen at its Jan.10 meeting as part of his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal.
One of those positions is the town's public library custodian, Mike Matley, a 23-year veteran of the library. By eliminating Matley's position, as well as the two other custodial positions, the result would be a decrease of $134,551 from the town's budget, Malloy said. Matley's salary is currently $35,204.
Malloy is proposing that the two part-time positions would each work 10 hours a week with the Buildings and Grounds supervisor.
At the selectmen's meeting, members of the Library Board of Trustees appeared before the board to ask it to reconsider eliminating Matley's position. Matley and many of his supporters were also present.
Pat Fontes, the chair of the trustees, said that Matley was “an essential part of the staff.” As such, she said, he did much more than just basic custodial services.
“He does a lot of heavy lifting and moving things around. He also is our “de facto” security; we are an entirely female staff except for him,” she added. “He's worth everything that we pay him.”
Karen Fay, the vice chair of the trustees, agreed, adding, “He's essential to maintaining the historic nature of the building. He does so many other things that you can's expect someone coming in at night to do.”
Selectman George Thompson asked Fontes if there were any other parts of the library's budget that could be cut so that Matley's position could be saved.
“No, our budget is very close,” Fontes said. “We have state standards that we must meet for compliance. And our staff is very small compared to other towns.”
The selectmen agreed to take the matter under consideration.
Other proposed town staffing changes include: filling the full-time unfunded mechanic position in the Department of Public Works; adding hours for a homemaker and a second outreach worker for 19 hours per week in the Council on Aging; and an additional .07 staff member added in the School Department.
This year's Annual Town Meeting (ATM) will be held Saturday, March 17, at Westborough High School. The warrant for the ATM closes Tuesday, Feb. 14.