[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com.
The below letter from the Board of Selectmen was submitted yesterday afternoon.]
To the Editor:
The Board of Selectmen has received correspondence from several current and former residents regarding the layoff of the Cemetery Supervisor as of July 1, 2014. I want to thank those that did reach out to their elected officials to offer their thoughts and concerns. I have responded to as many of those personally as I could. I acknowledge and appreciate the amount of passion that people have on this issue, and I share in your desire for a speedy resolution.
This year, Town Meeting supported a Fiscal Year 2015 budget that included a reorganization in Public Works and privatized the maintenance of the cemetery grounds. This was presented by the Public Works Superintendent to make the operation more efficient and to save money, which is something that I encourage and expect from all of our department heads each and every year. During the budget process, it was presented that while there was a possibility of a layoff in DPW, at the same time, two long-time DPW employees had retired, and a third expressed an interest in the same. Thus, the potential for a reorganization without a layoff existed, based on that third retirement which we were informed could take place before June 30th.
Despite our best intentions, things did not work out as contemplated. Know, however, that the Town has been working with the DPW Union and town leadership over the past two weeks to try and find a way to avoid the layoff. I full support these efforts. We are continuing that dialogue, and I am proud to say that good progress has been made. It is my hope that we can retain all of our current employees while preserving the efficiencies of the department as voted by Town Meeting. I have put this issue on [Tuesday, May 13th’s] Board of Selectmen meeting agenda so our new Board can all discuss. I firmly believe that when dealing with matters as personal as our cemetery, that has now affected a long-standing and valued employee, every effort should be made to ensure that our cemetery operations are of the highest quality with the right personnel. A layoff should be our last option, and an option I believe we can avoid.
Finally, every resident should know that we support and trust in our professional staff who have worked tirelessly to bring this matter to resolution. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated town employees who want nothing more than for our town to prosper and thrive, and I am grateful for their continued service.
Daniel L. Kolenda
Chairman, Board of Selectmen
Updated (5/13/14 12:42 pm): Mr. Kolenda’s reference to “tomorrow’s” meeting was written yesterday. I inserted the correct date above.