Yarmouth hires new finance director; aims to consolidate town, school duties

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YARMOUTH — Dawn Madden of Gorham will become the town’s finance director in August.

She will replace Maura Halkiotis, who has held the job for nine years. According to Town Manager Nat Tupper, Halkiotis said she is ready to do something different with her life.

Madden, 41, said she is ready for the challenge and would like to hold the job until she retires. 

“It is scary to change jobs in this economy, but the position in Yarmouth is the right choice,” she said. “I am comfortable in the non-profit government sector, and this is where I want to be.”

She said the interview process was thorough, and after meeting many of the municipal and school employees, she knew it was the right fit.

“I am looking forward to this new challenge,” Madden said.

Twenty-two people applied for the job, and after the initial interviews, Tupper and Superintendent Judy Paolucci narrowed the field to six. One applicant withdrew, and after additional interviews were held with Tupper, Paolucci, School Committee member Art Bell and Diane Klages, the town’s accounts payable and payroll clerk, two finalists were selected.

Madden was chosen unanimously after a tour of the town and school facilities, and interviews with Cumberland Finance Director Alex Kimball and Yarmouth bookkeeper Mary Hill.

Tupper said Madden’s references gave positive reviews and said she was competent, reliable, easy going and has a strong work ethic.

She was offered the job Friday, July 23, and the Town Council approved her employment Tuesday, July 27. 

Most recently, Madden worked for the state Department of Corrections as the senior staff accountant. Previously, she was the senior accountant at Geiger Brothers, and the chief financial officer at Madden Plumbing & Heating.

She also worked for 12 years for Woodfords Family Services. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Husson College and a Master of Business Administration from Baker College in Michigan.

With Madden at the helm and the anticipated retirement of school Business Manager Carol Kinney, Tupper said the structure of the finance and business departments on the municipal and school sides will soon change, with the finance director also handling accounting, data management and financial reporting functions for the schools.

Madden said she is looking forward to the challenges the job will bring and is excited to work with both the town and school departments.

“The new objective of compiling resources within the schools and municipality is a new focus for me, and one that I look forward to,” she said.

A committee was formed last December to look at ways to share school and town business functions. Members included Tupper, Halkiotis, Paolucci, Kinney, Town Councilors Tom Renehan and Bill Schaefer, and School Committee members David Ray and Judianne Smith.

A “Statement of Mutual Understanding” was developed and endorsed by the Town Council and School Committee. Tupper said the statement outlines a strategic and incremental approach to sharing services and coordinating duties in the immediate and the long-term.

When Kinney retires, Tupper said a new school business manager will be needed,  but with more focus on managing and less on accounting.

“By incrementally and strategically merging the support staff and functions of the two departments, we can find efficiencies and synergies within the town and school departments,” Tupper said. “We expect this will create an opportunity for us to save resources and costs. It has the potential to be a better way of doing our  business.”

 Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net