Budget effects from Troy official’s termination still unknown

Budget effects from Troy official’s termination still unknown

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
| Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 12:00 pm

TROY — The effects on Troy’s budget from the firing of a longtime town official are still unknown, selectmen said.

The board terminated Cynthia P. Satas, 62, from her jobs as the selectmen’s administrative assistant and welfare administrator last week after she was arrested Dec. 8. She is charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, accused of misappropriating funds by using town money to pay for utility bills for her properties.

To fill the void left by Satas’ departure, the board has contracted with Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith fo a temporary accountant; hired area resident Anna Thackston to run the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and assigned welfare administrator officer duties to Police Chief David B. Ellis Jr.

The board is also having an audit done of the town’s finances.

The effect these actions will have on the town’s operating budget is something selectmen are still trying to figure out, board members said Monday night.

“Right now, I don’t think we have an answer to it,” Selectman Gideon L. Nadeau Sr. said.

Selectmen Chairman William T. Matson said he hopes to have the number pinned down soon, and in the meantime, he’s optimistic that whatever the effect, it won’t be drastic.

“We’ve been trying to estimate,” he said. “Right now, I don’t think it’s going to be a big number.”

In the role of administrative assistant, Satas handled bookkeeping, payroll, took the meeting minutes for the board of selectmen, and was the assessing clerk, Matson said previously. As welfare administrator, she reviewed and approved applications from town residents seeking emergency assistance with bills and expenses such as food and fuel.

Selectmen discussed last week putting a freeze on spending by town departments, but opted not to go that route until they got further information about the budget.

Also, Matson said selectmen will take a look at staffing at town hall, which will give them a chance to assess how the offices are run.

“It’s an opportunity for us to look at different positions and different operational efficiencies. We’ve been doing things the same way for a long time,” he said.

Troy voters approved an operating budget of $1,421,387 in March. Of that amount, $117,425 was appropriated for the selectmen’s office, $30,000 was for welfare general assistance and $2,365 was for welfare administration.

Satas had been the administrative assistant to the selectmen for more than 20 years, and held the job of welfare administrator, which is an elected position, since 2001, with the exception of a portion of 2012.

The selectmen agreed last week to form a search committee to review applications for an administrative assistant/town administrator, conduct interviews, and then make a recommendation to the board.

As of last year, Satas made roughly $45,000 as administrative assistant and about $3,000 for being the town’s welfare administrator, Matson said.

Police say more than $15,000 was stolen from the town, starting as far back as 2008.

Satas was released on $25,000 personal recognizance, and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 14 in 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene.