Groton Town Council rearranges duties of management positions

Groton - The Town Council on Tuesday created six new town management positions without the need to add additional personnel.

The feat will be accomplished by a shift in responsibilities and resources for existing jobs and was made possible due to several existing vacancies. Three of the six jobs are already staffed.

Perhaps the biggest shift will come in the town's administrative services department, where Director Douglas Ackerman's position will eventually morph into the title of assistant town manager.

The move was proposed in part as a way to separate the human resources department.

Ackerman's duties now include a mix of three independent entities: information technology, emergency management and human resources.

"That's kind of an eclectic skill set that you would have to manage," Ackerman said at a recent meeting.

Ackerman has hinted at retirement.

The new assistant town manager will retain responsibility for information technology and emergency management and take on more administrative jobs but shed human resources duties.

In the wake of the split in departments, the town will look to hire a director of human resources and risk management.

Town Manager Mark Oefinger said the idea has been discussed for years but made difficult during some tough budget years. An opportunity arose with the retirement of Joyce Sauchuk, the former manager of labor relations and risk management.

"We're really trying to fill what we think is a real need without adding a position," Oefinger said.

A new coordinator for risk and emergency management will be created in part thanks to a vacancy left in the position of occupational health and safety coordinator. The position deputy director of emergency management, held by Jeff Williams, will become the coordinator for risk and emergency management position.

Other new job titles include the manager of utilities division, recreation supervisor for marketing and events, and transfer station foreman. The utilities manager position comes from the unsuccessful attempts to fill the position of manager of water pollution control facility left vacant by the retirement of Carl Almquist.

The new manager will have broader responsibilities for utility operations such as budgeting, rate setting, capital projects, and long-range planning with less emphasis on operations.

g.smith@theday.com

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