EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 16, 2008

Windham clerk sticking around for another year; Plan to change how position is paid shelved

WINDHAM - It turns out that Town Clerk Joan Tuck has another year left on her term and won't be retiring in March after all.

As a result, selectmen on Monday withdrew a proposed warrant article that would have changed the way the town clerk is paid.

Unlike most towns, Windham pays Tuck based on the number of marriage licenses, dog licenses and car registrations processed each year. After Tuck announced her retirement last year, selectmen considered switching to a salaried town clerk who would receive benefits.

But once board members learned that Tuck would not retire in the spring, they were in full agreement to leave the manner of her pay unchanged, Town Administrator David Sullivan said.

"The board didn't think it was appropriate to change her salary in midstream," he said.

Tuck initially planned to retire in March, Sullivan said, but she miscalculated the length of her term. Her term actually expires in March 009.

Sullivan said he doesn't know if selectmen will take up the town clerk's pay again before Tuck's term ends next year.

Tuck made $77,317 last year. A cost analysis by Dana Call, the town's assistant town administrator/finance director, showed that paying a salary and benefits to the next town clerk would save money over the first three years. But it would cost the town more money in each subsequent year.

Also on Monday night, selectmen placed two proposed articles on the warrant and withdrew a third.

Going on the warrant is a proposed revision to the town's blasting ordinance. The proposal places restrictions on times and places that blasting can occur.

Also approved for the warrant is a proposed noise ordinance that would put restrictions on certain kinds of noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. on Sundays. The ordinance does not address specific decibel levels.

Selectmen withdrew a proposed article to build a secondary access road to the high school over the former London Bridge Road.

A similar article that requests state funding for 30 percent of the road's cost will appear on the school district warrant. That article was brought forward via a citizens petition, Sullivan said.

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