Town Planner: reporting issues resolved, new hire accepts position

A recent citizen’s petition called into question who the Town Planner should report to and how the resource should be used. On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board officially agreed to share the resource. Within days, Bolton Town Planner Jennifer Burney accepted the redefined position.

New Town Planner

On Wednesday evening, The Planning Board met to interview Town Planner candidate Jennifer Burney (Bolton Town Planner). The Metrowest Daily News reports, “After her interview, Burney voluntarily left the room while Planning Board members quickly decided to offer her the job.”

You can read the full story of the Planning Board’s decision at MWDN. Since then, MWDN reported that Burney has accepted the position.

Memorandum of Understanding

At Tuesday’s Joint BOS and Planning Board meeting, the boards unanimously voted to adopt an MOU. It requires the new Town Planner to coordinate with both the Planning Board and the BOS. The Planning Board retains its role as manager to the position.

On a daily basis, the planner will coordinate with the Town Administrator (who reports to the Board of Selectmen). The Town Administrator has authority to assign additional duties.

The decision addressed concerns of a citizen’s petition to shift the reporting of Town Planner from the Planning Board to the Board of Selectmen. The petition was circulated by ZBA Chair Leo Bartolini and had been headed for a vote at the Special Town Meeting in October.

Bartolini had stated his desire for the Town Planner position to be a shared resource of the town. One issue of specific concern was past planners’ inability to get grants for the town.

In August, the Planning Board asked Bartoloni to reconsider the petition. Chair Don Morris explained that they were happy to share the resource with the BOS. They wanted a chance to prove that a new Town Planner could successfully report to the Planning Board while serving as a joint resource.

At that time, Bartolini insisted he would persist with the petition. This Tuesday, upon adoption of the MOU, Bartolini agreed to withdraw the petition. He was satisfied with the compromise measure.

You can read the full MOU below:

Memorandum of Understanding Between the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen

The Planning Board shall be responsible for the hiring, firing, supervision, performance review and compensation recommendations for the Town Planner. The Town Planner shall be responsible for coordinating with both the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen.

The primary responsibility of the Town Planner shall continue to be carrying out the usual duties associated with the Planning function under the Planning Board’s direction. For purposes of day to day administrative operations of the Planning Department, the Town

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9 years ago

Having watched the meeting, my take is that Mr. Rooney was the force behind this and he showed great leadership. He was able to work with Mr. Cimino and they addressed the purpose behind Mr. Bartolini’s petition. This was all done in time to avoid argument at town meeting and for the hiring of the new planner. Excellent work gentlemen.

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