DERBY – Assistant town clerk Maryanne Tetreault’s hours were cut earlier this year, reportedly because work was slow, and now she is behind on her duties.
Meanwhile, assistant town clerk Nancy Gosselin and Faye Morin, who was brought in by outgoing clerk Nicole Daigle to learn the office duties, are both clocking overtime.
Gosselin said Monday that she and Morin have had to work a few extra hours because the office is so busy right now with tax season. Gosselin also put in some overtime because of the recent primary.
Gosselin and Morin handle finances in the office, something that Tetreault doesn’t do. And the two sometimes stay late to work with Daigle on training. Daigle, who has a new job, is coming in after business hours and working about 10 hours a week, but getting paid for 40 as she is owed for unused vacation time.
Daigle reduced Tetreault's hours from 40 to 16 a few months ago, a move Tetreault saw as retaliatory. Tetreault beat out Daigle by three votes for the delinquent tax collector position at Town Meeting. The position brings in on average $25,000 a year earned through fees on late taxes.
Tetreault said she had some different ideas to help people who fall behind and she promised to give half of the fees she collects to Derby organizations.
The delinquent tax collector's duties are separate from the16 hours as assistant town clerk, which include customer service and recording. Tetreault says she is now more than a week behind in her recording duties, which has never happened before.
Daigle said Tetreault never told her about being behind in her work and this is the first she’d heard of it.
Tetreault wants her hours back to 40. She said the problems began in the office even before Town Meeting and stemmed from personal issues.
Tetreault brought her concerns to the select board saying that her hours were unfairly cut and she wanted them back. But the board said they could do nothing as town clerks are free to run their offices as they choose. Chair of the select board Brian Smith said he hopes that all who work in the town clerk's office can work cooperatively together.
In a previous interview, Daigle said that the amount of recording needed decreased with the economy, and Tetreault didn’t need as many hours. But Tetreault says that in eight years of working in the office recording obligations waxed and waned, but her hours were never cut until now.
Daigle says she is officially resigning September 30 and the select board at that time can appoint someone to the position, unless enough signatures are collected on the petition now circulating calling for a special meeting to elect an interim town clerk.
Several people say that it was not fair that Daigle handpicked her own replacement without advertising the position. All acknowledge that Morin seems qualified for the position.
The petition is to open up the playing field to anyone whom may be interested, said Vicky Farrand-Lewis, who is one among many circulating the petition.
Meanwhile the working environment has improved dramatically with Morin in the office, Tetreault said.
Tetreault is regularly donating to Derby organizations when she collects late fees. If she collects a small amount in a time frame, she donates 100 percent to the organizations. If large amounts are collected, she includes the United Way, but always gives to the Derby organizations first. They are: The Derby Fire Department, Derby Line Ambulance, Dailey Memorial Library, Haskell Free Library, The Derby Historical Society, Derby Lions Club, the Derby Dog Park, and The North Country Junior High Garden Club.