Committee Votes to Adopt New Governance Model for Lyme

LYME — The Town of Lyme Succession Planning Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that the town adopt a governance model that would retain the Board of Selectmen but include additional paid staffing positions.

In previous meetings, the committee had narrowed down their choices to two models: a Board of Selectmen with additional paid staff and a shift to a town council with a town manager.

Steve Mattsen, the first selectman, said at the meeting that the town was in no position to form a town council, since that would require a change in the town charter and would take anywhere from three to five years to finalize. In the meantime, he said, the town had 19 positions that would potentially need to be filled within the next year. 

Susan Tyler, who made the motion to recommend a Board of Selectmen model, said that the previous four first selectmen of the town, who had run the town for a total of 65 years between them, all agreed that there was a need for extra professional help. She said that the details of what that professional help should look like would be left to the Board of Selectmen. 

The original model that the committee brought forth assumes one additional full-time and one additional part-time employee, which would cost the town $224,752 per year — an addition of $94,171 compared with the current model. 

Dave Tiffany, another member of the committee, said he would support this model if it would include the option of having the second and third selectman take on a larger role rather than hire in additional professional help.

Mattsen said this could be an option, but he pointed out that because selectmen is an elected position, it’s possible that the selectmen may not have the qualifications or the expertise to perform certain roles that require a professional. 

The committee also voted to recommend that the position of treasurer be an appointed position rather than an elected one.

At Mattsen’s request, the committee will draft a recommendation letter for the Board of Selectmen based on their decision. They will have another meeting in December to finalize the letter. 

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