Public Safety Building Committee: Town seeking members with construction experience, apply by May 26; Questions on role of golf course

Above: Selectmen are extending the application deadline for residents to help oversee building a public safety station on St. Mark’s Golf Course. But how much of their charge should be related to preserving the course? (photo left by Susan Fitzgerald, right by Katie Ferguson)

The Board of Selectmen are seeking recruits for a new committee to oversee the approved Public Safety Building. And they are asking for residents with “construction industry experience” to consider signing up. [That doesn’t meant that residents without experience are disqualified.]

Last night, the board discussed a draft charge of the committee and the potential membership. The draft charge made no mention of the St. Mark’s Golf Course. That led to several minutes of (friendly) debate.

At issue was how the golf course plays into this specific committee’s charge – or shouldn’t.

Former selectman John Rooney opined that the charge needed to cover assurances made by selectmen when “campaigning” for support of the approved warrant articles. He referred to promises to preserve the golf course and protect abutters’ property values.

There was consensus that the agreement to preserve the golf course secured the votes to pass the building project. But there was disagreement about what that meant.

David Parry, member of the Save the Golf Course group, said that voters were assured that the golf course would remain open during construction. He agreed that funding wasn’t approved yet, but believed the committee’s charge needed to include working to protect the course.

Peter Goodney, Vice Chair of the Public Safety Study Committee, pointed out that the article protected the option for preserving the golf course. But funding to do that wasn’t approved. Voters were shown that the approved funds would be used for the building and the land purchase.

Given that, there was question as to whether the committee should be incorporating golf course operations in their charge. Or should that be a separate committee.

That played into another debate about the committee membership. 

Members of the Public Safety Study Committee had agreed to apply for the new committee. In past meetings, there had been mixed support for taking all of them with one additional resident.

Last night, selectmen were in agreement that the a committee comprised of just that the applications they received was missing needed experience related to building and the procurement process. They will continue to seek at least one applicant with that background.

Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf asked to remove the criteria that a selectman and advisory member sit on the committee. She wanted to avoid future conflict. She also wanted to avoid quorum issues if other selectmen decide to attend meetings. Rooney opined that a selectman needed to serve on the committee, to answer to the public.

And there was a suggestion that at least one golf course advocate should serve. Town Administrator Mark Purple said that they could take the places of the selectman and advisory positions if those were removed.

In the end, selectmen chose to take more time to think about the charge and submit recommended changes.

They asked Purple to extend the recruitment deadline and get the word out about someone with construction experience. The charge and committee members will be readressed at the June 6th meeting.

Applicants are invited to apply with a letter and resume. You can mail that to the Selectmen’s Office at 17 Common St, Southborough, MA 01772 or click here to apply online.

To get an idea of the committee’s responsibilities, you can read the draft charge here. (But, again, expect changes to be made at the June 6th meeting.)

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Kathy Cook
7 years ago

I encourage the BOS to keep this process open until they find the right mix of qualified candidates. We need people with commercial construction backgrounds to step up and participate in this committee. Those could include builders, architects, engineers, and construction managers. We need this project to be built correctly and its cost controlled so that we do not spend a penny more than was authorized at the STM. We also should strive not to use all of the contingency that was built into the budget.

If not enough qualified people step up – I would encourage the BOS to compile a list of qualified residents and ask them to participate. There are probably some qualified residents that are not aware of the process and might be willing to participate if asked.

We have built buildings in the past (e.g. Trottier) that ended up with serious construction defects. That should not happen with this building.

D. McGee
7 years ago

Speaking of public works projects, does anyone know when work on the Main Street Renovation is schedule to begin?

D. McGee
7 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Thanks Beth!!

louise barron
7 years ago

Stop! Municipal Building Committee. With all due respect to the folks of this town. This building and everything that goes with it requires outside professionals qualified, to evaluate and understand all that this building process requires. We don’t need more folks who present a conflict of interest to this project. Ever hear of foxes guarding the hen house. In addition, we MUST have an independent construction audit company, who will not only oversee the quality control, but will guarantee the monies collected for the job, will be utilized for that job. A multiple bid process must also be in place at the start. Taj Southborough

7 years ago

I was wondering the same thing the other day, as it took me fifteen minutes to get from the Transfer Station to the Community House, lol.

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