The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday evening, February 23, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.
Present: James M. Hardy, Chairman; Eric W. Greene, Clerk; David L. Walsh
Karen Grabau, Adm. Assistant
Not Present: George Samia, Interim Executive Secretary
Mr. Hardy stated that the Board had canceled the scheduled budget presentations and would concentrate on a discussion of how the Board would proceed with the search for a Town Administrator.
Fire Chief Ryon Pratt, Chairman of the Town Administrator Search Committee was present to discuss the search with the Board.
Mr. Hardy presented a summation of the Town Administrator Search; report of the committee and presentation of three finalists; withdrawal of one candidate on day after Committee’s report; his intent to move forward and interview two remaining candidates; difference of opinion with other Board members; majority vote of Board to request screening committee to come up with another candidate for Board to interview; withdrawal of Mr. Samia after last week’s meeting; interviews postponed by Chairman as only one candidate left. Mr. Hardy stated that he then instructed the office to notify the departments scheduled for budget presentations tonight, that they would be canceled.
Chief Pratt explained that he has not been able to set up a meeting of the committee as one member has been on vacation and another has been out of state due to family illness; not optimistic that the committee can get Board’s request done. Noted that Committee worked well together and made decision after much work by all members. Noted that many of the applicants indicated that they were being considered in several communities.
Mr. Walsh stated that he too felt the committee had worked well together; number of candidates were considered and interviewed; stated that he would propose a motion that the Board suspend their search for a Town Administrator until such time as the Board can meet with the Search Committee to review the options available.
Mr. Greene stated that he was disheartened with Mr. Samia’s decision to withdraw; felt that if the Committee had three best, then someone was forth and fifth. Could easily recommend those and they could be contacted for interviews.
Mr. Hardy stated that he was concerned with perception of people regarding the search; questioned whether committee could contact other candidates to see if they were still interested.
Chief Pratt stated that the process was done and provided three candidates; the choice was a collaborative of all the committee members; had 40 resumes; 5 people looked at all 40 resumes and were able to agree on 10 to interview; held in-depth interviews and completed their mission to provide the names of the three best candidates to the Board. Felt that to resurrect other candidates for interviews, there was a question as to whether it could be done. Felt that there was a necessity to chose the best candidate so that the new position would be successful. Stated that personally, he felt it was a big step for the Town and there was a need to get through it in an honorable way and not have additional hazards.
Mr. Walsh stated that there was a lot of work by the committee; it was a fair process with heavy discussion and debate. Felt Board now needs to sit back and look at options. Perhaps direction of Board needs to be analyzed; felt he needed a week to review work of committee, review applications, etc. Felt personally he needed a week to decide how to proceed; felt that was a need for additional communication with the Search Committee.
Board of Selectmen -2- February 23, 2004
Mr. Greene stated that he didn’t see need to wait; didn’t see any other options for Board. Felt that there were several candidates that could be interviewed.
Mr. Hardy stated that he wished to discuss with Search Committee how they arrived at 10 candidates to interview and how that process narrowed field to 3. Felt that he found 7 candidates that he would have interviewed; need to have conversation with committee members as to their reasons for their choices. Also noted that candidates not chosen as finalists have been notified by Committee; same process was done during last screening process for Executive Secretary.
Further discussion was held relative to Board meeting with Screening Committee. Chief Pratt stated that he would set up a meeting as soon as possible; will let Board know of dates as soon as he can confirm with committee members.
Mr. Greene questioned whether discussion with Screening Committee would be in regards to 40 applications or 10 semi-finalists.
Mr. Hardy stated that he felt it would be 10 semi-finalists and criteria used by committee in choosing finalists.
Mr. Greene stated that he thought it would be beneficial for the screening committee to contact remainder of 10 to see if they were still interested.
Mr. Hardy stated that he felt that the success of the person chosen could be clouded by the events of last few weeks; could be starting on wrong foot; need solid footing to begin position, could make job harder for person.
Mr. Greene stated that he didn’t feel the search was clouded; felt Board should have a definitive attitude.
Chief Pratt stated that the Committee’s position was that they had done a good job; made a good decision; sure all would be willing to sit down with Board and review criteria; could discuss application process not applicants.
M/Walsh, s/Hardy, a unanimous vote, move to suspend search for Town Administrator until such time as the Board of Selectmen meets with the Town Administrator Search Committee to review and clarify the process.
Mr. Hardy stated to the Committee that he appreciated the work they have done; now find us in a difficult situation and because of the situation there is a need to stop, assess and then move forward.
Fire Chief Ryon Pratt informed the Board that the Eat Bridgewater and Halifax Fire Departments held a live burn at Quadrille Lane on Saturday. Thanked the residents of Ray Way for their cooperation. Noted that both departments honed their skills. Also thanked Terry Aicardi, Local Cable Access Director for video taping the day under difficult weather conditions. Noted that the film will be a great training film for Department.
Mr. Hardy suggested that Chief Pratt send a letter in regards to Mrs. Aicardi’s assistance to the Cable Corporation.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the February 17, 2004 meeting.
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M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to the following to the Council on Aging:
Robert DiFazio – through June 30, 2005
Joanne Erickson – through June 30, 2005
Marcia Weidenfeller – through June 30, 2006
Mr. Hardy noted that the Council on Aging had sent a letter of recommendation for these applicants.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve Jeff Simmons Eagle Scout Project.
Board discussed need for easements for this project and felt that Town Counsel could assist; agreed easements should be under Town no Bay Circuit.
Chapter 70 formula workshop = S.E. Regional, March 10
Department project requests submitted to Cong. Lynch’s Office
Mr. Hardy thanked the Departments, George Samia and Cong Lynch for their assistance.
Mr. Walsh suggested a way to relieve the town’s financial problems; showed Board members a $1.25 bill printed by the Town of East Bridgewater in 1848.
Mr. Hardy reminded the Board that on March 12 a Financial Management workshop would be presented. Requested that all Departments be notified and that they be encouraged to have at least one representative of their department present.
Board discussed chapter 70 Formula workshop; it was noted that the presenter would be Richard Hatch.
Mr. Hardy noted that the budget presentations canceled this evening need to be rescheduled. The following revisions were made to the schedule:
March 1 – 7:40 p.m. – Veterans Services
7:45 p.m. – School
March 8 – 7:45 p.m. – Council on Aging
8:00 p.m. – Police Department
8:15 p.m. – Board of Health
March 15 – 7:45 p.m. – Park Department
8:00 p.m. – Fire Department
8:15 p.m. – Treasurer/Collector
It was noted that deadline to submit articles for the Special and Annual Town Meeting was March 31. Board went over schedule.
M/Walsh, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to adjourn meeting at 8:30 p.m.
Board of Selectmen