The Metrowest Daily News has posted two new stories related to ongoing controversies in town government.
In the first story, MWDN covers last night’s Advisory Committee Meeting. In light of the recent layoff of the cemetery supervisor, Advisory members revisited the DPW budget presentation made prior to Town Meeting.
Members agreed that they had no recollection or records supporting that they were told about the possible layoff.
The second report focuses on comments made by former Zoning Board of Appeals chair Sam Stivers. Stivers criticized town officials for pressuring the ZBA to deny a permit for the proposed 40B development at Park Central.
As reported yesterday, the denial was overturned. The development is back on the permitting track. Meanwhile, the developer has withdrawn his planned offering of close to $500,000 in mitigation funds to the town.
Here are the excerpts from and links to those stories.
Layoff discussion questioned – MWDN/Southborough Wicked Local:
Contrary to statements made by Town Administrator Mark Purple several weeks ago, financial Advisory Committee members Wednesday said they had no recollection of any mention of a cemetery layoff during budget discussions this winter. . .
Wood Wednesday took a straw poll in which all seven of the members of the board present at the Feb. 24 budget discussion said they didn’t recall any layoff mentioned.
Member Kathryn Cook said she was “100 percent positive” that DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan didn’t mention the possibility of a layoff.
“She absolutely led us to believe that (budget savings) was going to be effected through retirements,” she said.
Sam Stivers, who took the minutes of the meeting, said he did not have anything in his notes relating to any layoff. . .
[On May 13, Town Administrator Mark Purple] said Galligan had in fact mentioned the possibility of the layoff, adding it was unfortunate the meeting wasn’t taped. . .
Asked about the discrepancy in his recollection afterward, Purple replied, “If eight people think it wasn’t said, than obviously it needed to be said more effectively.” . . .
Reached Wednesday night, Galligan said she “thought for sure there was an understanding there was a layoff.
“We weren’t hiding it,” she said. “I thought we had communicated it, but apparently not well.” (Read more)
Southborough: Former ZBA chairman blasts officials over 40B decision – MWDN
Former Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Sam Stivers Wednesday called on Selectmen to investigate a failed ZBA attempt to derail an unpopular affordable housing project on Rte. 9 that he believes may have been unduly influenced by town employees.
“I’m very concerned that the town administration was apparently trying to make decisions for the ZBA and then that the ZBA was apparently willing to roll over in response to this extraordinarily inappropriate pressure,” Stivers wrote in a statement. . .
Stivers said Wednesday that ZBA Chairman Leo Bartolini recently told him and Selectman Paul Cimino that he felt he had “no choice” but to advocate for the denial after Town Administrator Mark Purple called a meeting with him on the topic.
“I urge our new Board of Selectmen to thoroughly investigate what actually happened here and to hold accountable anyone found acting inappropriately —and do this in open session,” Stivers wrote. “There appears to be a clear need to either get everyone properly trained and managed so that they behave consistently with the important ‘separation of powers’ structure intended for the ZBA or get new people in these important positions who understand the intent of this structure and are prepared to work within (it).”
Bartolini Wednesday acknowledged that he told Stivers he felt pressured by Purple into making the decision. However, he also said he ultimately believes the correct decision was made.
“We did what we thought was proper for everyone,” he said, adding he believes neighbors might have sued the town had it not given the denial a try.
Purple, Town Planner Jennifer Burney and Selectman Chairman Bill Boland Wednesday strongly denied any intimation that town employees pressured the ZBA to do anything. (Read more)