By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Marlborough – Citing the need for the city to have a full-time human resources (HR) manager, Mayor Arthur Vigeant will be asking the city council to approve monies for the position when he presents his requested budget to the council later this month. But that decision is already starting to become somewhat controversial; because for the last year, the city has had a part-time manager, who after she was offered and turned down the full-time spot, was immediately relieved of her services.
That manager, Lynn Faust, said she was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision, particularly as it came on the heels of an April 23 fire at the Lake Williams Condominiums that left 67 residents homeless.
According to an April 30 press release from Vigeant's office, in the absence of a director, the city is in “contact with the local chapter of the United Way as a secondary option to meeting the human service needs of the City.”
By all accounts, Faust was doing an excellent job. In fact, when she accepted the position last May, it was only to be for six weeks, she said; the city chose to extend her services until the decision to hire a full-time manager.
In the press release, Vigeant praised her for her tenure.
“Lynn is a great advocate for people in need,” he said. “She put a significant amount of effort into the job even though it was part-time. I know she will remain very active in our city and I wish her well.”
Michael Berry, executive aide to the mayor, elaborated on the matter.
“The mayor believes there is a need for a full-time director – that was made evident by the fire last week,” he said.
“Lynn was offered the position before it was publicly posted and she turned it down, for what we believe are personal and professional reasons,” he added.
For her part, Faust said she turned down the opportunity because she felt the proposed salary – $44,803, with full benefits – was too low.
“This position requires someone with a lot of knowledge on a lot of complex matters,” she said. “It requires someone who understands all the different types of resources that are available to someone who is unemployed, has a major medical situation, or been through a disaster like the fire.”
Faust said she accepted the position last year at the behest of city officials, who knew her track record on volunteering in the city and for her work as a volunteer manager for the past five years overseeing Second Saturday, a non-profit community service group based out of Hudson's Grace Baptist Church.
She took on the part-time HR manager's position after the previous full-time director Rosalind Baker, chose to leave amidst a particularly contentious time in early 2011 as the former mayor, Nancy Stevens, and the City Council debated over consolidating the city's human services, veterans services and the Council on Aging into a new Human Services Department.
Faust said although she was “distressed” by Vigeant's decision, she was nonetheless “hopeful” that the attention being paid to the matter would “bring to light the need for a full-time HR manager.”
“My hope is that the mayor will extend good quality services to the citizens that they deserve,” she said. “I's hoping that he chooses to go with someone local, who really understand the needs of the residents.”
Berry said that helping the city's residents is a priority.
“We really want to stress that the mayor's office continues to work with the Red Cross and the United Way to help not just the residents affected by the fire but any city resident who finds they need assistance,” he said. “Residents can always call City Hall for help.”