Southborough hiring (again) for new Town Planner

Yesterday, the Town of Southborough shared some unfortunate news. Our new Town Planner is hitting the road.

Jyothi Grama is relocating. Her husband was recruited by an NYC firm. It’s something she tells me was unexpected. She loves her job, but its an opportunity they can’t pass up.

That means that the Planning Board has to head back to the hiring table.

The board took about 6 months to fill the post after former Town Planner left in January. It took multiple rounds of applications and candidates for them to find the right fit. They hired Grama in June.

Before that, it took around four months to hire Grama’s predecessor Jennifer Burney in 2013.

The good news is, this time there seems to be plenty of notice. Grama hopes that the transition will go smoothly. She tells me that she plans to do all she can to make that happen.

The Town has already posted the job description to be filled. (For details on the opening, click here.) Meanwhile, Grama hasn’t given an official end date. Instead, she asked to be out by the end of the year.

Hopefully, this means there won’t be a repeat of issues the Planning Department had in past years. 

Under-staffing has added to delays in the board’s challenge to update the Town’s zoning code. (That’s something the Town has been trying to achieve for many years now.) 

And the board just announced to Town Meeting voters that Grama would be researching two new potential zoning bylaws for them. Both were meant to fix issues formerly addressed through Use Variances.

Part of staffing problems included a necessary long term leave for the department’s assistant before Burney left. That assistant, Hilary Young Carney just retired after many years of service.

Grama tells me that the new assistant will begin on November 7th. In the meantime, Carney has been pitching in part-time. And she will be helping to train her replacement.

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louise barron
5 years ago

It’s a shame Grama didn’t pass on the Town Planner job if there was the slightest hint that her husband might relocate. It’s a tedious process to find a Planner. Good luck

mikefuce
5 years ago

I do not mean to sound harsh but I am, I am truthful and a realist. Should have known not to hire transients that seek the next highest paying job. How revealing, she new it was coming, her own words. This is a job that takes a long term vision. Transients, my term, do not have the dedication to community, are not involved in our community, and preferably someone who has lived in the town for a long period of time, 10+ years. These people had been here I am told for 3 years, maybe less. I do not believe transient workers, maybe new to the community and we know who they are, are not a value to our community overall, perhaps only to the tax base (and of course they have intrinsic value always as a human being). Unless they are visible, contributing currently to Southborough, in the schools, in the community, then don’t hire another one. Its a waste of time and resources.

em
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Beth,

Thank you for addressing the comments in question. I can understand why you expected someone would offer criticism of the tone and assumptions made in the comments. Personally, I took many issues with the comments that were made, but I remained silent largely to not encourage what I considered to be trolling. There are some commenters on this site who consistently use so much hyperbole and frequently engage in name-calling, so much so that they undermine the remainder of their comments and I cannot take them seriously. So, I have taken to ignoring them. Maybe that gives the impression that hyperbole and name-calling are acceptable. In my mind, they are not, but in my opinion one of the best ways to de-legitimize such comments is to ignore them. I do appreciate your rebuke of the comments in this case, though. Although refusing to support trolling helps me sleep better at night, largely by not engaging in tit-for-tat ugliness, the downside of such a strategy is to remain a bystander and to tacitly approve of potentially harmful social vitriol. So, thank you for being an upstander in this case.

D. McGee
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Well said.

Ira Schild
5 years ago
Reply to  mikefuce

My former neighbor, Mike Fuce, suggests what (I think) he claims to be a realistic approach: hire as the next Town Planner a non-“transient” – someone who has lived in Southborough for a decade or more, who has some demonstrable form of investment in the community, and who will offer a long term vision for the town. Apart from my agreement with Beth’s response to the implications of some of the language in that post, here’s another bit of data to question just how realistic such criteria will be, from the job description posted to http://www.mma.org:

“Bachelor’s degree is required; master’s degree in urban and regional land use planning is preferred. Minimum of five years of experience in municipal or environmental planning. Salary range $62,500-$87,500.”

I do not know the median household income in Southborough, but I’ve lived here for nearly thirty years, and that salary range doesn’t sound viable to me as the basis for long-term residency here. Combine that with Mike’s criteria and with the need for some specialized expertise, and the realistic pool of candidates shrinks down to … ? And I, for one, do not “know who they are” or who they might be. But I think we’ll have to cast a wider net to find our next planner,rather than a narrower one.

mikefuce
5 years ago

Removed for violation of comment policy

Kate
5 years ago
Reply to  mikefuce

These types??????????

louise barron
5 years ago

Thanks Mike

Mike Fuce
5 years ago

Hi Beth, There is nothing thinly veiled, what I said is very clear. Your exhaustive diatribe hit the nail on the head. I have my opinion , you have your opinion. It’s interesting how when the other side has an opinion or we want to word something the way that we want to word it , and we are on the opposite side, you and yours want to exercise your/their authority/dominion over those who you claim are doing what they are doing, hence the pot calling the kettle black. If you are offended, or the ones you claim to be concerned or offended, or someone else is offended, I say pull your pants up and wear them like a big person. The facts are the facts, if they hurt so be it, you only cripple or stagnate debate when censoring what you think or feel is inappropriate. There’s nothing in there that is insulting , if you’re a big person. A transient is a transient under no other name. They come and go when they feel and they are on to the next bigger buck they can make. I dont understand why that would hurt your feelings or anybody else’s. Thanks for pointing out all out to us are clear on. PS i’ve seen some pretty hard left of center comments from many people and I don’t see you commenting on their verbiage perhaps to be fair you should do that as well If you must referee.

Mike Fuce
5 years ago

So I agree with what Ira has mentioned it’s a very good overview in summation. Beth on the other hand, your sensitivity is coming through and your defensiveness. If we can’t say that certain groups of people are not invested in America the way other certain groups are then we can’t tell the truth right. The facts are the facts ma’am. That’s all I need to say. Thank you for allowing a debate in the form of public opinion in the marketplace of ideas, even when others think dissension is a form of bigotry and stoop to name calling, weather in your opinion you think it’s bigotry or not.

louise barron
5 years ago

I think everyone should calm down. I am getting very nervous when we are being restricted from making statements that might or might not offend. Even negative comments should be printed. The reader may do with it what they may. This is crossing the line of free speech. That worries me.

YY
5 years ago

I agree that is at best questionable when someone takes such a job knowingly will move in a short period of time but on other hand life is rarely so black and white. Also, would people want planning department to be without a planner for the entire time or with an unqualified person?

Without actual proof that Grama knew with reasonable certainty that they’ll be relocating less than a year and that she did not disclose such information, I’m simply going to accept it as a fact of life. Most people have to work for a living and I don’t believe is reasonable to ask them not to work on off chance they might relocate. Some times opportunities come from far left field and if it is right for you, you take it. As such, without actual proof of otherwise, again, I am going to give Grama the benefit of a doubt.

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