BOS to expand Public Safety Committee charter and add members October 6th

by Beth Melo on September 28, 2015

Post image for BOS to expand Public Safety Committee charter and add members October 6th

Above: The committee charged with evaluating the Town’s public safety building needs is digging into proposals and looking for new members. (Photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

Last week, the Board of Selectmen interviewed candidates and filled a vacancy for a position on the Public Safety Committee. Next week, they expect to expand the committee by adding three more members.

The PSC is the committee charged with investigating building a new public safety complex. Having completed the bulk of their original charge, the committee is looking to expand its charter. Members will be working with a contractor to develop a specific site plan, proposal for selectmen, and presentation to Town Meeting.

On the first of the month, committee Chair Al Hamilton proposed the new charge with additional members to the board*. Town Administrator Mark Purple advised holding off on approving it. By creating spots before filling them, he said they’d be leaving the committee without a quorum.**

On September 22nd, four applicants to the committe went before selectmen. Initially, Chair John Rooney planned to hold off on appointments to interview more candidates on October 6.

(It seems that at least one other resident expressed interest to the board. If you want to be considered, I suggest you fill out an application and contact the Town quickly.)**

Selectman Brian Shea convinced the majority of the board to appoint architect Michael Moorehead without delay. He urged that Moorehead’s expertise would be of value at tomorrow night’s PSC meeting. The committee will be reviewing responses to their RFP this week. They will also be developing a workplan for moving forward. 

Member Paul Cimino was the overruled opposing vote. (Selectman Dan Kolenda was absent.) Cimino counseled that the appointment should wait as “advertised” until all the interviews were complete. He qualified that he expected to endorse Moorehead’s appointment at that time.

Rooney defended that the appointment to the existing vacancy didn’t contradict the posted agenda item. The item stated “Interviews for Public Safety Study Committee vacancies”.

Earlier in the month, Hamilton told the BOS he believes they will soon need to decide soon what to ask Town Meeting for in the spring. This led to a respectful debate on who should make that call.

Rooney thought the PSC would be better qualified, while Hamilton deferred to the board as the officials elected to make policy decisions. Member Dan Kolenda weighed in with deference to Hamilton’s past successful efforts on swaying Town Meeting voters. He agreed that it was selectmen’s call but was eager for advice from Hamilton and the PSC.

Rooney summed up:

We are making a fifty year decision hear. And it’s hard to look into a crystal ball with any degree of accuracy. . .

I’d like to get the expertise of your committee on every phase

He said they would be seeking unanimity of the PSC and Advisory, “that’s how you build consensus.”

To see the interviews from the 9/22 meeting, click here and forward 45 minute into SAM’s video. To read their applications, click here and scroll to page 10.

* To view the draft of the revised charge proposed, click here and scroll to the final two pages.

**Note: Because the positions haven’t been officially approved, they aren’t listed under current committee vacancies on the Town Website. But they are accepting applications.

1 Al Hamilton September 29, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Our community is looking for volunteers for this critical endeavor. This will in all likelihood be the largest building related tax increase in our history. The project is, in my opinion, necessary but broad citizen/taxpayer input and oversight is required.

You do not need to be an expert in construction, or public safety operations to be a member. The committee is well advised in this area by our own professional staff and by the consultants we will use to develop a site plan and concept.

Of equal importance is the is the desire to communicate the plan to the community and to carefully guard the taxpayers pocketbook.

If you are at all interested please put your name forward before the Selectmen’s meeting next Tuesday

Al Hamilton
Chair, Public Safety Building Study Committee
(These comments are my own and do not reflect the formal position of the committee)

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