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Interim manager presents town goals to Spencer aldermen

SPENCER – Since being named interim town manager of Spencer in mid-June, longtime municipal administrator David Treme has been hard at work.

His early days were spent working in tandem with the town’s budget officer, John Sofley, completing details of the fiscal year 2019-20 budget. Work has only escalated for the 20-hour-per-week staff member since, and on Tuesday, he presented to the Board of Aldermen part of his work: an outline of what he called “current and future priority goals” for the small Rowan County town.

“This is not my work,” he said as he began his presentation. “This is our work. … I’ve identified these things by listening very closely to the mayor, the board, town employees and our senior leadership team.”

All told, Treme said he compiled responses to as many as 40 one-on-one interviews with those closest to Spencer’s day-to-day operations.

At the top of the list of identified goals was the town’s effort to better attract, develop and retain its staff.

“We realized, as we’ve reviewed our salary and pay, that we’re behind where we needed to be to be competitive,” said Treme.

To address this, Treme recommended immediate, interim adjustments in employee pay as the town undertakes classification, compensation, market and pay studies.

Results from these studies, which would guide future decisions, could be available as soon as October, he said.

Second came a need to create policies that improve administration, Treme said. The processes range from personnel policies to credit-card use policies and a capital improvement plan that extends beyond the current fiscal year.

“We need to lay it out so we can be aware of not only what’s happening this year, but so that we’re looking into the future,” said Treme. “That might help us to plan accordingly.”

Careful planning, foresight and budgeting will be necessary as the town moves into addressing its final priorities: revitalization and growth, community outreach and improvements to infrastructure, public safety and appearance.

But before any of these endeavors could begin, Treme once more circled back to competitive employee pay and, therein, retention.

“We’ve lost seven from our Police Department in the last five years,” he said. “If we can make a move there, we can put that behind us and work on other things beyond this preliminary effort.”

Accordingly, the town board scheduled a closed session to hear recommendations for interim pay adjustments from Treme.

The session will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 3 at Town Hall.

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