Breaking news: Swap Shop closure has been delayed until January 7

The Swap Shop has received a stay of execution. Selectman Bill Boland announced moments ago that he has ordered the shop to remain open until January 7, 2012. The Board of Selectmen will host a discussion about the Swap Shop at their regular meeting on January 3, 2012.

Here’s Boland’s full announcement:

On November 22, 2011 the DPW Superintendent advised the Board of Selectmen of her decision to close the area at the transfer station known as the “swap shop” effective December 1, 2011 due to continuing problems affecting the operation and safety of the recycling area and citizens using it. The Board expressed support of her decision.

As Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and given the inability to have a meeting of the full Board, I now believe it would be in the best interest of the Town, as a whole, to delay the closing of the “swap shop” facility. I have therefore directed the DPW Superintendent to delay closing until the end of business on Saturday January 7, 2012. I have suggested the Superintendent, at her discretion, take steps as soon as possible, including parking limits, to attempt to improve the safety and other issues in the recycle area.

I have put discussion of the “swap shop” closure on the Board of Selectmen Agenda for Tuesday January 3, 2012 to allow for full participation by the Board and time to investigate alternatives. A specific time for the discussion will be posted at a later date.

The Board of Selectmen have received the petitions, e-mail messages, and various other communications, including several possible alternatives, from concerned citizens and are reviewing those as well as any other recommendations that come forward.

Bill Boland
Chairman, Board of Selectmen

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12 years ago

Thanks to the Board of Selectmen and especially Mr. Boland. The residents of Southborough will be happy to work with your board and the DPW to keep the Swap Shop operating to the satisfaction of everyone concerned. Thank you for being responsive.

Mark Ford
12 years ago
Reply to  MLandry


SOME of we residents of Southborough are concerned that summarily closing the Swap Shop was attempted without a public hearing in the first place…lol…and as to “being responsive,” yes, well, reacting to overwhelming pressure is good, if not inevitable.

12 years ago
Reply to  Mark Ford

Yes, there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. That is the BOS continuing to deliberate and vote on topics which they do not clearly list on their agendas. When and how will this be corrected? If neither the members of the BOS, nor our highest level town employees can manage to abide by Open Meeting Laws, what is the recourse of the taxpayers? The BOS has been warned by the Attorney General of their responsibility to uphold this law. Why is it not happening?

12 years ago
Reply to  Mark Ford


We all occasionally act before we think things through. It comes with being human.

At least Mr. Boland has taken steps to try to stop this unpopular decision and get a full public debate. I’ve complained about some of his decisions in the past but I applaud him for taking this action.

Mark Ford
12 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Yup, perhaps I was being too hard. It just seems so obvious to me that closing the Swap Shop would be a BIG deal in town…and to do so without a posted hearing still mystifies me. I agree that Mr. Boland made the right decision–a good decision made evident by the petition with 700 signatures obtained in one weekend.

Melissa Shields
12 years ago

Thank you to the residents of Southborough! Our voices are heard. Thank you to the BOS for making the right decision to allow us to work together for a positive outcome.

JD @ Momagement
12 years ago

Excellent news! Looking forward to seeing how this all shakes out.

mike fuce
12 years ago

As to bashing either the DPW or the BOS I think peoples comments are extreme. I know all the members of thepresent BOS and they are upstanding men of principle and integrity – at least thus far, and they dont make any money really so best to go a little easier on them. And as for the DPW workers, Let’s see any of the complainers go up there and work for a day directing trafic, asking illegals without stickers to leave and getting folks to put recycle materials in the right spot. And to get inconsiderate people to leave their stuff and move out of the area – someone said they try to leave in 15 minutes – that is wrong. Put your stuff where it belongs and get out as fast as you can. There are many waiting patiently.

Kathy Gleason
12 years ago

In an area of tight budgets and diminishing incomes, many people rely on the Swap Shop to help them out with basic needs – a bicycle for their child, perhaps, or a new toaster for their kitchen.

I have seen the bedlam and congestion that occurs at the Swap Shop – especially late Saturday afternoon. I am sure town workers have their hands full trying to clean up afterward. However, there are many residents, including myself, who would be willing to volunteer their time to help. Perhaps a sign-up sheet could be created and circulated. Tell the residents what is needed to keep the Swap Shop going, and I am sure they will respond.

Kathy Gleason
12 years ago

I have some concrete suggestions that I think might be helpful.

Some VERY INEXPENSIVE physical improvements to the Swap Shop would make a big difference. These changes would make the donations easier to organize, and they would also make it easier for people to get in and out. As it is now, people who donate stuff will often drop off their goods in large boxes or bags, and someone seeking a good ‘find’ has to root around through all these containers to see the contents. This takes time and creates messes. With the exception of books, there are no shelves, table, bins, cubbies or hooks on which to display the donated items, so they all end up on the floor .

Here are some suggestions for creating more display space:

1 – MORE SHELVING. Purchase some metal brackets at a hardware store, and then buy sheets of plywood that can be cut to the thickness that is needed for the shelves. Some fairly wide shelves could be used for items like electronics, fax machines, etc.

2 – TABLES AND LARGE BINS. Perhaps some tables could be found in donated items.

3 – UTILITY HOOKS can be hung around the interior. These can be used for duffel bags, ice skates, etc

I hope some of these suggestions are useful.

Kathy Gleason

In addition, designate a place for each type of donation. Toddler trikes go outside, glassware and dishware go in a special nook, etc Display signs around the area, showing where donated items should go.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

Best Regards,

Kathleen Gleason

12 years ago

Mistakes get made everyday and each of us has surely made our share. Our BOS & DPW are not beyond that. If it’s a recurrence with these particular members than that’s a whole separate problem that needs to be addressed but we’re all hardworking people just trying to do the best we can with what we know and have. I don’t think the bashing of any body, BOS, DPW, Swap Shop users and/or so called abusers, Transfer Station ticket holders, or charity groups, is necessary or warranted and it’s certainly not productive.
From what I understand of that meeting many of the ideas people have been throwing out there were discussed by the BOS and DPW that evening but all were rejected. I don’t think one meeting 4 days before the re-closure order is going to fix what seems is a list of issues stated by DPW and residents voiced after the closure notice was released and it’s going to take intelligent, rationale minds to move it forward.
As written by SBResident:
“However, I think we need a more explicit explanation as to what the problems the selectman are referring to before any suggestions can be made because the real “problem” is actually a bit complicated, thus the hesitation in defining it.
In case I’m not clear in what I’m saying, the original article listed many complaints by the DPW Superintendent Galligan.
1) Traffic / Parking
2) Camping out
3) Aggressive grabbing of the “good stuff”
4) Abuse of DPW employees
5) Reselling of goods
6) Leaving of garbage requiring DPW workers to haul it the compactor
7) I think there were some others…
The solutions to some of these may be simple individually, but combined, the solution(s) start to get complex. “

I tend to agree with SB that this may be a bit more difficult to fix and don’t know if simply posting some rules is going to satisfy all parties or even come close to correcting the issues. I mean thinking that through ‘posting a list of rules’ brings up policing for violators (actually any scenario pretty much requires additional policing) and isn’t that ‘lack of funding and resources for’ one of the biggest reasons the decision the order to close occurred? I just think this is much more complex than we’re giving it credit for.

12 years ago

Kathy, I think that’s a good suggestion to put towards a plan! And donations of materials and time/labor from people willing to volunteer. Do believe we need to come up with a complete plan taking all factors into account. If for nothing else because the cost for the…is to astronomical.

John Butler
12 years ago

On its way to folklore status, I’d guess. Forty years from now one can imagine some third successor DPW superintendent being told, “You have complete authority, except for some reason it is said that you should never attempt to close the Swap Shop. I’m not sure why, but the advice was passed on to me, so I pass it on to you.” :-)

Frank Crowell
12 years ago
Reply to  John Butler

Forty years from now there will not be the need for that note since the Swap Shop will be a revenue generating operation needed to off set the cost of running the Transfer Station – not that I would be in favor of this.

peter goodney
12 years ago

Just as a matter of proceedure- Can one selectman order the DPW head to put off the closing of the Swap Shop after the full board voted to close it? Not that I think it is a bad opinion or descision but, if the guidelines were properly followed at the start, we would not be in this embarrising mess.

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