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Lumbra: Changes in treasurer needed

Date: 10/10/2014

HOLYOKE – While City Treasurer Jon Lumbra may have decided against taking a job in Lowell, his exploration of his future career casts light on how the treasurer’s job is structured in Holyoke and whether or not it should be changed.

Lumbra’s job is an elected position and his four-year term ends in 2017. He has said that he will not run for a third term and that “more than likely” he may not finish this one.
After winning office for his first term, he ran unopposed for his second term.
Over a recent 10-day period, Lumbra was offered the treasurer/collector job in Lowell, an appointed position. While he initially decided to take the new job after visiting Lowell with his family he “had a reality check” and decided it’s not the right time for his family to make such a move.
His departure would have made key aspects of city government more difficult, he explained. One position in his office has been by the city council and his head administrative clerk is now on leave as the acting city auditor. The procedure to close the city’s books has just begun.
His office provides the payroll service for the 2,100 city employees as well.
He believes a discussion about the city charter is in order and noted, “It’s time for the Holyoke to get out of the 1800s.”
Although he has taken on other duties, he said, “I’m doing the exact same job William Whiting did as the city’s third treasurer.”
He believes the complexity of municipal government requires professional full-time employees. Lumbra said, for example, the auditor receives a $51,000 salary for helping to manage a $204 million corporation.
Lumbra doesn’t accept the idea of having people stay in elected positions for extended periods of time. “It doesn’t do anything for the greater good of the city,” he said.
Lumbra added, “For me it’s time to move on.”