RICHMOND — Town Council members unanimously approved the appointment of Laura Kenyon as the town’s new finance director at their meeting on Tuesday.
Kenyon, who currently serves as the finance director in Narragansett, was previously finance director in Hopkinton for five years before taken the Narragansett job in 2014.
Richmond has been without a full-time finance director since the end of October. Kelli Russ, who was hired in May 2018, returned a few months later to her previous position in Foster and has been working in Richmond one day per week.
Town Administrator Karen Pinch recommended a salary of $85,000 per year, and Kenyon will waive health benefits, which will save the town considerable money, between $18,000 and $20,000 per year.
Pinch also noted that she had received an unsolicited call from Hopkinton Town Manager William McGarry, congratulating her for having chosen Kenyon. He told her, she said, "what a great pick Laura is, so I was really happy to hear that.”
Kenyon told the council that she was looking forward to working once again in a small town.
“I think it’s going to be great,” she said. “Kelli got in touch with me and sold me on the job. Being in Hopkinton before, I love a small town, but I have loved Narragansett as well. I think it will be a good fit here for me.”
Councilor Nell Carpenter asked whether Kenyon could choose to receive benefits later and therefore, end up costing the town more.
“Are we ensuring that the benefits won’t be elected in the future?” she asked.
Russ said the town could not deny an benefits to an employee.
“If somebody needs the benefits with the ACA, Obamacare, as everybody knows it, you have to give them to them if you are an employer who is required to and you would be. It’s any ful- time position,” she said.
Kenyon will work a flexible 30-hour week. She will begin to transition into the new job immediately and is expected to take over sometime in June.
In other business, Russ told the council that the purchase of a dump truck with plow and sander for $145,000 would have to wait until the new budget has been approved, because there is not enough money in the town’s capital account.
“You’re about $80,000 of your way there, so the plan is to budget the other $60,000 or so in the upcoming budget, and then the timing just works perfectly,” she said. “You have about 24 hours to turn everything around, so if you approve and adopt that budget and then it goes to your Financial Town Meeting, and you’ve already approved it prior to the Financial Town Meeting, then after, you can sign the contract and still lock in the price.”