Amherst town hall undergoes an administrative reorganization

The opportunity provided by the upcoming retirement of two long-term employees combined with Amherst town council’s desire to be more efficient and transparent have resulted in an administrative reorganization at Amherst town hall. 

The reorganization will see the elimination of several positions, though there will be no job losses because new positions are being created that council believes will help improve services. 

“I believe these changes signal to our citizens that it’s not just business as usual and that we’re serious about improving our organization,” Mayor David Kogon said, moments before council unanimously approved the changes on Dec. 18 at its regular monthly meeting. 

Retiring are Rebecca Purdy, the executive assistant to the CAO who has served the town for 23 years, and Vince Arbing, who has been with the town for 14 years, the 12 as director of finance. Purdy’s retirement is effective Jan. 31, while Arbing’s is effective on April 30.

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Vince Arbing, Amherst’s corporate services director, and Rebecca Purdy, the executive assistant to the CAO, will soon be retiring. 

 Effective Feb. 1, the executive assistance to the CAO, the executive assistant-planning, human resources co-ordinator, senior planner and accountant positions will be eliminated. At the same time, the positions of municipal clerk, deputy-clerk, administrative assistant-clerk’s office, land use and strategic initiatives manager and financial services manager will be created. 

Effective May 1, the position of director of finance-corporate services will be eliminated and the position of chief financial officer will be created. 

CAO Greg Herrett also announced the appointments of Sarah Wilson to the position of financial services manager, Andrew Fisher as the land use planning and strategic initiatives manager, Kim Jones as the municipal clerk and Natalie Leblanc as the deputy-clerk. 

Herrett said the town will immediately begin searching for an administrative assistant for the clerk’s office and in the coming months will be opening a competition for chief financial officer. 

In presenting the motion to approve the reorganization, Deputy-mayor Sheila Christie said the “net cost of these changes on an annual basis is estimated to be less than $2,000 and there is no net increase in full-time equivalent positions.” The moves reflect council’s desire to improve customer service, create continuous business process improvement, provide consistency in the governance process while improving transparency, Christie said. 

The moves will also help with succession planning while recognizing the excellent talent within the organization, she added. 

Mayor Kogon echoed her comments, saying he felt the changes will “strengthen the organization now and in the future by recognizing good young talent.” 

“I also believe that many of these changes signal to our present employees that opportunities for advancement exist even in a relatively small municipality such as ours.” 

Herrett thanked Arbing and Purdy for their dedication to the town and offered his congratulations to the new appointees. 

“We’re anxious to get to work implementing these changes,” Herrett said.