Westover Town Hall to open during business hours

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2008

By AMY GORDON / Staff Writer

For the first time, the Westover Town Hall will have an administrative assistant to keep the town hall open during business hours, said Mayor Mark McLaughlin.

Currently, citizens must call and leave messages for town officials at the town hall.

“We’ve used technology as much as we possibly could for the past few years,” he said. “The town is almost eight years old, and we’ve used voicemail, the Internet and the Web site as much as we could. There is a demand that we have somebody available during the day to help the citizens.”

McLaughlin said the voicemail system has been effective in the past, but officials now get so many voicemails it sometimes takes too long to respond to citizens. Many times, people that come in to the town hall don’t realize no one is there to help.

“We want to be as responsive to people as we can be, and this is the next step,” he said.

The town council has concluded the application process and the preliminary interview process. All that’s left now is to finalize a salary package and hire an applicant, McLaughlin said.

Town officials are considering hiring either one full-time assistant or two part-time assistants. Assistants will be responsible for waiting on citizens, setting up meetings, answering phones, directing letters and helping with paperwork, among other responsibilities.

Once an assistant is hired and has gone through training, the town hall will likely be open five days a week during regular business hours, McLaughlin said.

“We want to be here when people expect us to be here,” he said.

City officials are hoping to have the hiring process finished and the town hall open by the end of July.

McLaughlin said whoever gets the job will be essential to the town.

“As the town grows and evolves, the administrative position may grow and evolve,” he said. “Whoever’s in that position will really know how City Hall works and can really be a resource for the city.”

Westover citizens are excited about having someone to help at Town Hall, McLaughlin said.

“The town’s been pretty excited about that. It’s been a problem we’ve had the last year or 18 months,” he said. “We’ve been moving methodically over the past six months towards solving the problem.”

Even with an assistant, technology will still be important to town officials.

“We’ll still use voicemail, and we’ll still use the Web site,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a great tool.”