Last week, I wrote that the Select Board members seemed happy that the St. Mark’s Street and Park project would soon be in their rear view mirror. It appears that isn’t the case for all of them.
At last night’s meeting, member Al Hamilton told the board he believes an independent audit of the controversial construction project should be conducted. He told the board that he believed it was needed to address lingering mistrust in the community.
Hamilton’s request followed up on an announcement he made on this blog in response to critical comments about the project. In a comment posted on Monday, he previewed that he would be requesting the audit.
In his statement last night, Hamilton explained:
it falls to this board to take proactive steps to reassure the public that it has the capacity to responsibly manage the funds provided by the taxpayers. . .
The goal should be to identify and quantify the direct and indirect costs associated with this project including legal, engineering, design, administration construction, and other costs associated with the project. The result should be presented in a public forum and to Town Meeting.
I believe these actions are necessary to regain public trust and assure a skeptical public that the Select Board takes its responsibility for the effective administration of public monies seriously, as I know it does.
You can read the full statement he made (and subsequently shared with me today) here.
Rather than debate the issue that night, Hamilton asked for it to be placed on a future agenda.
The statement was made under “Member Reports” on the meeting agenda. Because the public wasn’t notified of the topic in the agenda, there was no discussion among other members.
Hamilton had no official involvement in the street and park project prior to his election this past May, after Town Meeting finally gave the greenlight for the project to be completed. His only related prior role was as an outspoken voter at the Town Meetings in which related Articles were addressed.
At Town Meeting in 2022, Hamilton argued against the project and the process by which he believed the board had usurped Town Meeting authority. As noted in his statement, in 2023, he was among the past critics who advocated that approving the Town’s new Articles for a land swap and finishing the park was the best path forward.