Wellesley Treasurer /Collector Rachel Lopes is leaving after a year-plus on the job for a new opportunity out of state. Lopes had worked for the town for more than 11 years, starting as a finance and budget analyst in 2010, and becoming treasurer/collector after Mark Waldman, who served as town treasurer for 33 years, retired in late 2020.
Town CFO Sheryl Strother, clearly a glutton for punishment, proposed to the Select Board that she serve as acting treasurer/collector. Wellesley has already posted the job opening (along with one for a clerk) and was interviewing candidates.
Out of concern about conflicting responsibilities, Strother recommended that Assistant Town Accountant Tiana Moreau be appointed acting town accountant. These appointments would be effective Feb. 9.
“We just really need someone to be able to do this, and it’s not something we really want to delegate to a consultant,” Strother said. While Wellesley hires its fair share of consultants, she continued in saying one firm would charge $225 an hour, and that it’s worth Wellesley staying in-house to try to get the job done more economically.
Having said that, the town is bringing back the aforementioned Waldman temporarily just to oversee things a couple of days a week given that Strother has never been a treasurer. “We are not transferring the responsibility to him,” she said.
As for Lopes, among her parting gifts to the town is the work she did as part of the town’s finance team on a big bond sale for which Wellesley got a sweet average net interest rate of 2.203% in a rising market and was able to reduce its borrowing (for more details on the numbers, see the Wellesley Media recording of the Feb. 7 Select Board meeting starting at about the 3-minute mark.)