Finance director first of several expected departures

Finance director first of several expected departures

CUMBERLAND – The departure of Jason Parmelee as Cumberland’s finance director is expected to be one of a number of exits of department heads in town.

Parmelee, a man Mayor Bill Murray said has provided great service as a valuable asset to the town in the past 18 months, was a target of criticism from mayoral primary winner Jeff Mutter in the spring over disagreements with how he calculated the town’s tax levy and tax collection rates.

Those public arguments during the budget process came before Mutter announced his intention to run for mayor, and Mutter cited the conflicts as a key motivation in challenging Murray in the September primary.

Parmelee, a Scituate resident, has taken over as finance director in Smithfield, starting there in two weeks.

Parmelee said Tuesday that he has children ages 6 and 4, and their needs top his priority list. He said he could have sought out a chance to continue in Cumberland, but would have risked seeing other good opportunities dry up.

“I can’t nix this opportunity without knowing what’s going to happen to me,” he said.

That said, there’s no way he would be leaving if Murray had won, Parmelee added, and he wishes the incumbent had come out on top so he could stay on.

“We’re doing great things,” he said. “I love it here.”

Murray said there have been no other official announcements of department heads leaving, but said he expects a number of people currently employed with the town will not be part of Mutter’s administration.

Mutter told The Breeze he had been planning prior to an Oct. 1 announcement of state funding for Diamond Hill Park to consult with Murray and try to finalize some staffing decisions prior to the November election, where he faces no announced opponent, but comments made by Murray during the ceremony that day, indicating that he’s still the mayor and that the election season won’t be over until Nov. 6, led him to discard those efforts.

Mutter added that he had approached a few department heads prior to that ceremony, but will no longer do so based on Murray’s comments, saying he’ll wait until after Nov. 6. He said his thinking was that because that’s closer to the holidays, and that people will be looking for resolution, he thought it would be “better for everyone,” but said he’ll wait to see if Murray reaches out about starting a transition process early.

“Bill Murray is the mayor, and those are his department heads,” he said. Mutter will be the only name on the ballot for mayor on Nov. 6, and he will likely be sworn in as the town’s new mayor in January.

Asked if he’s made up his mind on whether to keep any specific staff members, Mutter reiterated that those considerations will be made after the Nov. 6 election.

Murray said Tuesday that the transition process has never taken place prior to the November election.

“Normally the business isn’t done until after the election,” he said. If a Republican was in the race, no one would even have a question.

“I didn’t do anything when I took over until after the November election,” he said. “That’s always been the timetable.”

Murray said he is open to changing his mind if it’s warranted, saying he doesn’t want to hurt anyone.

There has been some talk in town about a possible write-in campaign on behalf of Murray in the general election, but that effort doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction.


Obviously, the citizens of Smithfield, and its leadership, are not as stupid as would appear to be case with the incoming, so-called, leadership here in Cumberland. My saying that what with they scooping up our Finance Director without so much as batting an eyebrow! (And, probably at more money??)

Whether it be the Public Sector, or the Private Sector, good people, more-so OUTSTANDING people, will never be found standing in the unemployment line.

Needless to say it will not take long for the voters of Cumberland to realize they screwed-up...once again. This not being the 1st-time in our history that a poster child for promulgating Dr. Lawrence Peter's theory "The Peter Principle" has been elected to office.

What scares me, and should scare everyone, is who else of high competency, for no reason other then politics, or personal animosity, will be replaced with people of lesser competence?

At present, overall, Cumberland has some of the finest Department Heads, and Assistant Department Heads, serving this community then just about any other community in this entire State. And, doing so, wrongly so, as our dictates...wherein they have no real job security. A situation long, long overdue for change!

If losing Mr. Parmelee is an example of what is coming down the road...God help us!

And, that said, I seriously doubt that He/She can!

Tom Letourneau

Tom, why do you assume "outstanding" people will not be serving under a new mayor? Kind of a ridiculous statement, if you ask me.

Tom - Do you even personally know Jeff Mutter? He is an outstanding individual. He is smart, empathetic and kind and a very successful businessman. Good finance directors are a dime a dozen. Mr. Parmelee will not be missed at all. By the way, the Cumberland voters got this one right!!