Four months into the role, Glocester’s new finance director abruptly resigns

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GLOCESTER – Recently hired Glocester Finance Director Mark Capuano unexpectedly resigned at the end of the work day on Friday, Jan. 5.

And no one seems to know why.

“It was a two sentence resignation,” said Town Council President William Worthy after a special emergency council meeting on Wednesday.

“It was short,” agreed Don Zimmerman, town human resource director.

He explained that Capuano said he appreciated the opportunity to serve the town and simply said, “Please accept my resignation.”

“We had no idea,” said Worthy.

Council Vice President Stephen Arnold said that Capuano seemed fine and was doing a good job. Assistant Town Clerk Christine Mathieu agreed, adding that she had come in on a Sunday to finish some work and found Capuano hard at work, doing the same thing. Capuano had recently been praised by the council for his work as director, helping to find ways to bring more money into the town coffers, including transferring accounts from Citizens Bank to Washington Trust Bank, resulting in over $100,000 increase in revenue from interest.

“We had no clue,” agreed Arnold. “This was a shock to all of us. This is not the way to operate.”

Zimmerman agreed, adding that Capuano had been adamant about giving two weeks’ notice to his former employer before beginning his new position at Glocester. The sudden departure without explanation left him confused.

“I was surprised as anyone,” he said.

Town Clerk Jean Fecteau agreed, adding she had called him and left messages asking if there was a reason, in particular, for his sudden departure, and offering to talk and/or listen to what he had to say. He did not return calls.

“I am disappointed, but I also respect his right to leave,” she said. “He was very good at his job and a nice person to work with. I just hope everything is okay.”

The council accepted his resignation at the emergency meeting and appointed Tax Collector Jane Steere as interim finance director and Elizabeth Beltram as assistant interim finance director at stipends of $580 bi-weekly until a new finance director is found.

Zimmerman explained that in the last search, about 20 candidates came forward. That number was whittled down to three. Capuano was chosen from the final two candidates and hired on September 5, 2023 at a salary of $103,000. He had previously worked for the city of Cranston as a tax assessor.

Ironically, Capuano, at the time, said he was looking forward to working in Glocester.

“I had a good feeling about the town itself,” he said after being hired.

The council approved the search for a new finance director on Monday, effective immediately, at a salary between $100,000 and $120,000, depending on experience and other qualifications. Previously, Fecteau had explained that it was difficult to find replacements for finance directors because of the complexity of governmental rules and paperwork involved.

According to the job description, the finance director is responsible, in collaboration with Town Council and the Budget Board, for creating and administering the town’s budget. That director administers the town’s financial accounting, recordkeeping, and reporting functions and systems, and town receivables, payables, payroll, and employee benefits plans. The director is the custodian of all municipal funds and oversees tax collection and assessment. The position is responsible for day-to-day operations of the town’s finance office, including the supervision of subordinate office staff. The director also supervises the tax assessor and the tax collector.

“You’re not going to get a ton of applicants for a job like this,” said Zimmerman.

He said the qualifications involved and knowledge of governmental regulations are complicated.

“Those things combine to limit the world of applicants,” Zimmerman added.

“It will be a process,” said Councilor Walter Steere. “We’re not the only municipality looking.”

Capuano did not return calls to NRI NOW.

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