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Ontario Town Board’s debate on business manager position continues

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  • Staff Report 

In Ontario, the Town Board’s recent meeting became the center of a heated debate over the decision to hire a Business Manager, a position that has seen various changes and discussions since Paul Liess’s departure in 2018. The role, crucial for managing the town’s finances, has remained vacant as the board has shifted between hiring in-house and outsourcing to firms like EFPR Solutions, now Local Government Support Services LLC. Despite the unanimous decision to outsource in 2020, council members are considering a return to an in-house manager to handle accounting and capital investments more directly.

Councilman Joe Catalano highlighted the limitations of outsourcing financial management and the need for an in-house Business Manager to oversee the town’s money and investments. The job posting has lingered on the town’s website, indicating the board’s ongoing search for the right candidate. However, recent discussions have stirred controversy over the job’s terms and reporting structure, leading to public outcry at board meetings.

The debate reached a peak during a special meeting on February 28, where the proposal to rehire Paul Liess as a part-time Business Manager for $100,000 was met with strong opposition from the community and some board members. New Supervisor Ben Aman voiced concerns over the proposal’s impact on the town’s finances and employees, signaling a continuing impasse on the issue. The board has yet to make a final decision, reflecting ongoing divisions and challenges in managing Ontario’s financial administration.