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Frederick man hired as Williamsport clerk/treasurer

March 14, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT

After seven months without a town clerk/treasurer, the Williamsport Town Council unanimously voted Monday to hire one on a trial basis.

James R. Castle was one of six finalists for the job, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said after Monday's town council meeting. About 25 to 30 people applied for the job.

Castle's salary for full-time hours will be $35,000 a year.

"He's very knowledgeable," McCleaf aid. "He'll be able to step right in."

To start, Castle will be the acting clerk/treasurer. After a 90-day probation period, the council may appoint him permanently.

Castle, 28, of Frederick, Md., was a town councilman from 2000-05 in Brunswick, Md., where he was born and raised.

A few months ago, Williamsport hired Castle as a private consultant. His job was to find grants and loans to help pay for an overhaul of the town's water and sewer systems.

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For two months of work, Castle billed the town about $700, McCleaf said. The contract was nullified when the town hired him as clerk/treasurer.

Castle will spend a small percentage of his work hours on finding grants, but will otherwise give up his daytime consulting work, McCleaf said.

Castle said he will continue other parts of his business on the weekends: bookkeeping for Frederick real estate investors and grant-writing for nonprofit organizations.

He said he resigned as a Brunswick councilman when his business, Castle Consulting, expanded.

When he heard about the Williamsport clerk/treasurer opening, he applied.

"I really like the hands-on government work ...," Castle said. "I also really like dealing with people of the town."

He said the clerk/treasurer job is a perfect fit.

"It's almost like it was meant to be," he said.

The job was vacant since Aug. 10, 2005, when the town council voted unanimously to dismiss Bonnie J. Errico, who held the job for three years.

Council members did not publicly explain why they removed Errico, but Councilman Jeff Cline had been strongly critical of her for being several months behind on meeting minutes.

Errico's gross salary in 2004 was $30,187.46, McCleaf said Monday night.

The clerk/treasurer receives health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, profit-sharing and a 401(k) plan.

McCleaf said the council, in an executive session last week, decided to increase the salary when hiring Castle "because of his experience in municipal government. His packet was unbelievable."

Castle said he was aware of the town's financial troubles going into the job.

"I enjoy a challenge," he said. "It's not going to be a cakewalk."

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