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In split vote, Thurman officials okay sharing bookkeeper

Thurman citizens observe their town board (left) at work as they conduct a meeting earlier this year. Tuesday July 23, the town board voted to share their bookkeeper with the Village of Cambridge — each municipality will have 20 hours per week of his services through December. Cambridge is paying half his salary and half his health insurance expenses over that time. The arrangement is expected to save Thurman taxpayers over $9,000.

Thurman citizens observe their town board (left) at work as they conduct a meeting earlier this year. Tuesday July 23, the town board voted to share their bookkeeper with the Village of Cambridge — each municipality will have 20 hours per week of his services through December. Cambridge is paying half his salary and half his health insurance expenses over that time. The arrangement is expected to save Thurman taxpayers over $9,000. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The town of Thurman will be sharing its bookkeeper through the rest of the year with the Village of Cambridge — and this arrangement is expected to save local taxpayers about $9,000, Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood said this week.

Wood said that  Cambridge officials, hearing of the expertise of Thurman bookkeeper Lester Losaw, had contacted her and asked if they could use his services part-time. She said they wanted Losaw to work part-time for them straightening out their municipal books in the wake of a 2009 state audit that cited problems.

Wood discussed the proposal with Losaw and other town board members, then proposed it formally at a board meeting Tuesday night, she said.

The arrangement calls for Losaw to work 20 hours per week for Thurman, and an equal number of hours for Cambridge — from August through December.

The municipalities will equally share the $13,686 salary he is to earn over that five months as well as his health insurance costs for that period.

Tuesday July 23, the town board voted 3 to 2 in favor of the proposal. Voting for the temporary shared services were Wood, Al Vasak and Gail Seaman. Voting against the arrangement were Leon Galusha and Charlie Bills.

Some citizens in town have been complaining since last year that too much was being spent on Losaw’s salary, which is $32,848 per year. Town board members, however, have defended his pay, noting his experience and his accomplishments in straightening out Thurman’s finances since he was hired.

Wood said that if Cambridge officials seek to extend this sharing of services, or if another municipality asks for a similar arrangement, the board will be entertaining offers, depending on Losaw’s work load.

”This money-saving arrangement will be beneficial for everyone,” she said.

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