With Marblehead native Blaisdell, treasurer-tax collector post filled; finance director still pending

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Marblehead has hired its next treasurer and tax collector, as the Select Board appointed Rachel Blaisdell to the vacant position on Nov. 30 on Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer’s recommendation.

The vote alleviates some pressure as the Select Board and Kezer build out the leadership team in the Marblehead Finance Department.

Blaisdell grew up in town, graduating from Marblehead High School in 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Salem State University.

Blaisdell will oversee the Marblehead Treasurer and Collector’s Office and its staff. The post to which she was appointed has been vacant since Michael Carriette left the town’s employ in early September.

Chief responsibilities of the treasurer and tax collector include:

  • authorizing the issuance of checks, wire transfers, direct deposits and other forms of payment for the town’s payroll, accounts payable, and retirement payments;
  • dealing with officers of financial institutions in matters such as long-term bonding, cash management and investment of town funds; and
  • overseeing the issuance and collection of property and excise tax bills.

Blaisdell was one of five applicants who were interviewed by the town accountant, school finance director, the retired treasurer of the town of Wenham, the town planner and Kezer, the town administrator told the Select Board.

“Out of the five applicants, Rachel was the most highly rated by the interview team, given her current experience,” he explained.
Blaisdell has served as the assistant treasurer of the city of Salem since April 2021.

Kezer said the interviewing team recommended hiring Blaisdell in part due to her “eagerness to continue in her professional education for this position.”

Before the city of Salem, Blaisdell worked as the business office manager at the Lafayette Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Facility.

“In my current role, I play a key role in making sure the bank accounts are reconciled monthly, daily receipts are posted and employees and vendors are paid,” Blaisdell wrote in her cover letter. “Over the past year and half, I have completed two years toward becoming a certified Massachusetts certified treasurer.”

She projects to receive that certification by August 2023.

Meanwhile, the town is still looking for its next finance director after a search that has dragged on for several weeks.

“We’re continuing on, looking for a finance director,” Kezer said. “We are optimistic that we’re going to secure someone soon.”

The town lost a couple of qualified candidates for various reasons, including “a tough marketplace for municipalities,” Kezer told the Select Board.

All of this comes as Marblehead enters budget season, as signaled by the Select Board recently opening the 2023 Town Meeting warrant. John McGinn, the former finance director and town administrator, has come out of retirement during the transition period.

Blaisdell’s appointment was approved in the Select Board Room as her parents, John and Laurie Blaisdell, proudly looked on. Laurie Blaisdell is the administrative assistant to Marblehead Fire Chief Jason Gilliland. She also chairs the Marblehead Disabilities Commission.

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