April 30 2018

Burlington Treasurer/Tax Collector Brian Curtin Reverses Retirement Decision

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington’s Treasurer/Tax Collector Brian Curtin said on Monday that he has changed his mind concerning his upcoming retirement.

As reported by BNEWS in February that he was planning on retiring by not running for re-election when his current term expires in April of 2019. Curtin was first elected as tax collector in 1976 and in 1977 the town combined those duties with the treasurer position.

During the Monday night’s Government Review Committee meeting Curtin said he had reconsidered his position. Shortly after his appearance on the meeting he spoke to BNEWS by phone and verified his change of heart.

“Here’s what happened, since I announced a lot of things changed,” he said.

One big change was the Board of Selectmen floating a Town Meeting warrant article that would have changed the Treasurer/Collector position from an elected position to an appointed position. Selectman Bob Hogan, who proposed the idea, said he thought the change should be made because of how the complexity of the job and the size of the town budget ($20 million to roughly $140 million) have grown since Curtin was first elected. Other members of the board seemed open to the idea but wanted to discuss it further and currently there is an expectation it will be placed before Town Meeting in September.

“I talked to [Town Clerk] Amy [Warfield] and she thinks they could get the change done in time for next year’s election,” Curtin said. “But if they don’t, I don’t want to leave the seat open and have someone without any experience taking my seat, especially with [Town Accountant] Paul Sagarino applying to fill the town administrator seat. I Don’t want both of those important financial positions have people with no experience within the town. That’s what changed my thinking right now.”

Editor’s Note: BNEWS reached out to Mr. Sagarino about his application to replace retiring Town Administrator John Petrin. He confirmed by email that he has applied as an internal candidate for the position.

As to whether the position should be changed from an elected to appointed position, Curtin said he likes it being elected.

“I think the elected position is good, I like the independence of it,” he said.

He added that one problem is that he feels the current salary for the position is too low to get the highly-qualified candidates the town needs, whether it is an elected or appointed position. The starting salary for the town's Treasurer/Collector is $85,000.

“I have put out a couple of feelers to people I thought might run and all of people who had expressed interest have said the salary isn’t enough,” he said. “I don’t think the current pay structure will attract the qualified person needed to fill that position. That discouraged me and changed my way of thinking.”

Curtin said that depending on how things shape up with the town’s financial leadership he may or may not finish the full three-year term if he is reelected.

“I’m got going to stay for a long period of time but I think it is important,” he said. “I Don’t want 42 years of my hard labor and interest in town to be changed in two or three years by not having the right direction in the financial area of the town. I’m willing to stay on for as long as the selectmen would like me to and need me. I so want to retire at some point but I don’t need to retire next April.”


 

 
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