Last week, the Board of Selectmen appointed eight of nine members to a new Public Safety Building Committee. The board is still seeking one more member with relevant construction experience.
The new Building Committee will “advance” design and construction of the new combined police and fire station. Its charge includes “fiscal responsibility” in meeting the Town’s needs.
There was some continued debate about how much about protecting the golf course should be included in the charge. Selectmen stressed that it would be important for the committee to try to keep the golf course open.
In the end, the charge only specifies working collaboratively with neighboring parcels – Woodward School and the St. Mark’s golf course – and any committees representing them. (You can read the full charge here.)
This week, selectmen’s agenda includes “Creation of Golf Course Committee”. The board will discuss potentially creating the committee and a draft charge. If formed, appointments to the committee would be at a future meeting.
Six of the eight members appointed to the new Building Committee are current members of the expiring Public Safety Study Committee. Selectmen were impressed by the effort of the group.
Prior to agreeing to roll over members, Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf reviewed the study committee’s minutes. She told the public that the group held 37 meetings over two years – including over vacations, Thanksgiving, and holiday breaks. The most meetings that any of the original members missed were two. Members also attended meetings of other committees and boards.
Phaneuf said she’d never seen that kind of dedication on other boards. She followed, “It’s an outstanding group, and I would really hate to lose any of them.” Fellow selectmen agreed.
But Selectwoman Lisa Braccio also stressed the importance of a diverse board balanced with experience on construction projects. Though a couple of members appointed that night had some experience, she believed the committee would benefit from more. She posited that they could hold one vacancy temporarily, hoping for that expertise.
Additional members appointed were former Selectman John Rooney and Larry Vagnini (golf course abutter and project manager for a large commercial builder).
The board is also likely appoint Advisory Committee member Kathy Cook. Initially, they believed she would just be an Ex Officio member. But Advisory Chair Janet Maney told selectmen, Cook still wouldn’t be able to cast related votes at Advisory. That meant she would be stripped of all voting rights on the project. The appointment was tabled for further research.