2017-05-02 / Front Page

Saco tables vote to share finance director with Biddeford

Staff Writer

SACO — A decision that would allow Saco to share its finance director with Biddeford has been put on hold.

The two cities have proposed sharing Saco’s finance director, Cheryl Fournier, but in order for the collaboration to move forward, it must be approved by city councils in both cities.

Saco was scheduled to vote on the matter Monday, but tabled the decision until its June 5 meeting. Biddeford is scheduled to vote on the proposal tonight.

Under the proposal, Saco would receive compensation from Biddeford for its share of the finance director position, and Saco would hire a part-time accountant position. City officials estimate Saco would save about $26,000 annually under the proposal.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Saco City Councilor Roger Gay at Monday night’s meeting.

He said he thought the finance director had enough work to do in Saco and fellow councilors Eric Cote and Nathan Johnston shared his concerns.

Saco City Administrator Kevin Sutherland said one of the reasons why Biddeford was considering the proposal was because the city has been unable to find a replacement after its last finance director left.

“There are not a lot of good, qualified people out there,” he said.

Sutherland said he considered the proposal “a home run.”

“What a great way to collaborate with our neighbors and save some money,” he said.

Councilor Alan Minthorn said he had talked to officials from Biddeford who were very excited about it. He said there was a clause in the suggested contract that would allow the city to opt out after 60 days if it decided the arrangement wasn’t working.

“I think it’s certainly worth moving forward and allowing Biddeford to have their vote tomorrow night,” he said. He said if the measure was approved, the city could have regularly scheduled workshops to review the arrangement.

Saco Finance Director Cheryl Fournier said she had met with officials in Biddeford and reviewed the potential duties in the joint position, and she was confident she could handle overseeing finances in both cities.

Cote said as the City Council had just learned of the proposal last week, it needed more time to discuss the suggested arrangement. The City Council voted four to three to table the vote, with councilors Minthorn, David Precourt and William Doyle opposed. 

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

Return to top