Unless the Board of Selectmen steps in to intervene, Southborough’s beloved Swap Shop is scheduled to close for good on Thursday. As of Tuesday night, Chairman Bill Boland said he had not decided whether to instruct the DPW to keep the shop open.
“We’re doing a lot of investigation. There’s a lot to consider,” Boland said.
The decision to close the Swap Shop was made by DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan in response to what she said was abuse of the system. Galligan had the unanimous support of the Board of Selectmen, but residents have strongly opposed the decision. More than 700 signed a petition to keep the Swap Shop open, and a post here announcing the closure has garnered more than 100 comments.
Boland said he has considered little else since the decision to close the Swap Shop was announced last week, spending much of his time “pouring over email.” He said he has asked Galligan for additional information on the problems she and her staff have identified with the Swap Shop. He has also talked with counterparts in other towns that have systems similar to the Swap Shop.
Boland said one of his main concern is for DPW employees. In a report to selectmen last week, Galligan said some residents get confrontational with employees when they attempt to monitor use of the shop. Boland said that behavior was evident at the Swap Shop as recently as this weekend.
Boland said there were “serious instances” on Saturday of residents confronting DPW employees over the Swap Shop’s planned closure. “To say they were treated rudely would be too nice,” he said.
Boland said any decisions about the Swap Shop’s future will be communicated today. “If I think it’s in everyone’s best interest, that means residents as well as employees, I will ask (Galligan) to keep it open,” he said.
It goes without saying that I’ll let you know if and when I hear anything, so be sure to check back.