Christine Dupras of Assonet, who since December has served as Foxboro’s interim finance director/town accountant, has accepted a job offer in Wrentham — leaving officials with the prospect of filling two key vacancies in the town finance department.
Town Manager William Keegan said that Dupras, who filled Foxboro’s top finance post through a series of provisional appointments beginning on Dec. 18, will be leaving July 9 to become Wrentham’s new town accountant.
She was hired locally in June 2011, and had served as assistant town accountant since December 2012.
“I have every reason to believe it will work out,” Town Manager William Keegan said of this latest complication to stabilizing the finance department. “But it will be a challenge. I’ll have to really think about what we’re going to do after July 9.”
Spearheaded by Assistant Town Manager/Human Resources Director Michael Johns, the town has been actively recruiting for the finance director vacancy for more than a month, adding that over 80 applicants had responded to the job postings.
“We don’t want to rush into this,” Johns said. “We want to make sure we make the right decision.”
However, Johns concurred with board member Leah Gibson’s observation that some applicants for the top financial post might be better suited to replace Dupras as director of accounting.
Ideally, Dupras’ replacement would be hired by the incoming finance director. But Keegan said this may not be possible under the circumstances — pointing out that having both positions vacant simultaneously would pose significant risk.
Either way, he expressed confidence that a decision on the finance director hire would be made by the end of July.
Meanwhile, selectmen unanimously extended Dupras’ interim appointment as finance director.
In a related matter, town officials announced two internal fund transfers needed to settle accounts before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
The first, in the amount of $184,000, was sought to address funding shortfalls in the town finance and inspection departments, as well as to pay for a worker’s compensation audit.
The money was redirected from other municipal accounts that finished the year with cash surpluses.
According to Keegan, the inspection shortfall was prompted by unexpected separation costs for a departing employee, while the finance department deficit stemmed from personnel moves — which included hiring outside consultants — following the departure of former finance director Randy Scollins.
The second transfer, $75,000 from the town’s reserve fund, was required to address shortfalls in the town legal budget.
Keegan said the legal deficit currently stands at $62,000, but added that additional invoices are still anticipated.
“We expect that we will be using most of that ($75,000) if not all of it,” he said.
Keegan was expected to meet with the advisory committee on Wednesday night to firm up details of the two fund transfers. Any monies not utilized will revert back to the free cash account, he said.