SHIRLEY -- Selectmen at their previous meeting accepted the resignation of Treasurer Kevin Johnston and agreed to post the position internally as a temporary job before advertising for a permanent replacement.

Johnston has accepted a position working for the Town of Ayer and will leave July 28, concluding a 20-year tenure in Shirley.

"Ayer's gain is our loss," Selectman Kendra Dumont said last week.

Monday night, Chairman David Swain echoed the comment as the board presented Johnston with an official certificate of appreciation from the town.

"Kevin and I go back a long time," Swain said. "He's done an outstanding job."

Dumont added that when she joined the board six years ago, Johnson was always a reliable go-to who could answer most questions or get information she needed if not.

Later in the meeting, selectmen appointed assistant treasurer Janet Poitras as interim treasurer.

Poitras, who has worked for the town for more than 14 years and holds an associate's degree from Becker Junior College, cited experience in her current position in her application for the treasurer's position, as well as "time management skills" and the ability to "work well under pressure" and as part of a team.

As assistant treasurer since 2000, Poitras in her resume listed experience with payroll, employee benefits, cash management and report preparation as qualifications for the job.

Previous jobs included teaching toddlers at Ayer Kiddie Depot from 1993 to 2000. For eight years before that, Poitras owned and operated her own bakery business in Groton.


Selectmen also appointed a new wiring inspector Monday night: Mark Prokowiew, of Clark Road, who has been the alternate wiring inspector for the past three years.

A three-person screening group consisting of Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, Building Inspector and Facilities Manager Donald Farrar and a non-resident third member chose Prokowiew after reviewing applications and conducting interviews with three candidates, Garvin said.

In doing so, they bypassed James Thibault.

A longtime resident who owns and operates the True Value Hardware Store in town, Thibault was Shirley's wiring inspector for more than 30 years.

He recently told a reporter that although he retired, Middlesex County Retirement Board rules allowed him to hold the position, so he put in a bid for the job.

Selectmen voted 2-1 to appoint Prokowiew. Swain voted no.

"I do not support the choice," Swain said. "I have some concerns."

Acknowledging that the chosen candidate is qualified, Swain indicated he'd have preferred to keep Thibault on the job.

Thibault "works from his place of business" in town, which is "a vast benefit to citizens" when they have questions for the wiring inspector, Swain said.

Prokowiew, a licensed electrician, has owned his own general electrical contracting firm since 1996. According to his resume, he previously worked for another company as a licensed electrical worker for seven years and before that was a chef/food service worker for five years.