LEWISTON – Without any previous discussion or notice on the agenda, Town Supervisor Dennis J. Brochey told the other board members Monday that he wants to remove former Finance Director Michael Johnson from his position as the town’s internal claims auditor and reduce the town’s junior accountant from full-time to part-time.
Board members were unprepared for any action on the matter and tabled the issue to an executive session. No action was planned.
“This is the first I am hearing about this, right now,” said Councilman Alfonso M. Bax, who stressed that this should be discussed in executive session.
When questioned after the meeting Johnson said he was also not given any advance warning that Brochey would attempt to fire him in a public session during a board meeting.
Brochey and Johnson battled for the Democratic nomination for supervisor and when Brochey took office in January he said publicly that he wanted Certified Public Accountant Paul Kloosterman to take on the role of finance director and expected Johnson to move on once he had trained Kloosterman. Johnson was at that time removed as finance officer to make way for Kloosterman and unanimously appointed to a secondary financial role at the same salary.
Brochey said he and Kloosterman were looking for ways to save money and couldn’t justify three people working in the finance office.
“We did keep Mike Johnson on as long as we could, and after a lengthy discussion (with Kloosterman) we think we can do without Mike for now,” Brochey said. “Paul and I are just looking for other ways to save money, and that was a smaller way to save several thousand dollars – $43,000 a year.”
If Brochey’s motion is approved, Johnson would be removed, and junior accountant Katelyn Allan would be moved from full- to part-time.
In another matter, the board discussed a plan with Recreation Director/Parks Superintendent Michael Dashineau to buy out the last two years of a five-year lease for the Lewiston Family Ice Rink at Academy Park.