Board Interviews 28 Candidates for Committee
Reading, MA — The Select Board spent almost an hour and a half of its September 28 meeting interviewing 28 of the residents who applied for the two resident positions on the Town Manager Screening Committee. Amongst the applicants are three former Select Board members, several former and current members of the Finance Committee, multiple town meeting members, a former school committee member, and several others with numerous roles on boards and committees in municipal government. Other applicants included local business owners, professional recruiters, and other interested residents. One applicant, Chad Smith, highlighted that this was the first time he had ever applied to participate in town government.
“I would bring an outsider’s view,” Smith suggested.
Each applicant had two minutes to share with the board what they thought they could bring to the committee and, if they chose, to answer a question posed to all the applicants by each board member. Applicants highlighted experience on town boards and committees, professional experience with the hiring process, understanding of employment law, and personal attributes.
List of applicants
Interviews from RCTV coverage
Select Board chair Karen Herrick praised the applicants, stating that the board was surprised at the level of interest in the roles. “I appreciate the depth of experience of our neighbors,” Select Board member Anne Landry commented. Select Board member Chris Haley continued, “I appreciate the time and dedication to the town [that the applicants displayed].”
Each Select Board member will come to the next Select Board meeting with their two choices and an alternate. At that meeting, the board will decide which two applicants will be appointed to the seven-member committee. At that same meeting, the two members of town staff and two members of the Select Board who will serve on the committee will also be finalized. Landry reported that Library Director Amy Lannon, Fire Chief Greg Burns, and Police Chief David Clark had expressed interest in serving on the committee. Town Moderator Alan Foulds will also serve on the committee.
Grove Street Lots
The Select Board discussed their right of refusal to purchase five lots on Grove Street, currently owned by the Meadowbrook Golf Club, for an estimated $2.25 million. The board must decide by November 4. Annika Scanlon, chair of the Conservation Commission, suggested that the acquisition of the property would provide an opportunity to develop a parking area for the Town Forest, easing parking concerns on Strout Avenue and Grove Street. Scanlon also highlighted the sensitive habitats and protected resource areas near the area and that these lots had been targeted for acquisition in past open space planning documents. Herrick suggested that one lot could be used for Town Forest parking if the board exercised its right. At the same time, the other four could be developed in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to provide some lower-cost housing.
Town Counsel Ivria Fried pointed out that, although Meadowbrook is not required to offer the Town just one lot for sale, Bancroft Estates, also a potential buyer, would be willing to sell the Town one lot which could be used for parking at the Town Forest. The cost of that one lot would be approximately $500,00- -$600,000.
Select Board member Mark Dockser suggested this as an opportunity to negotiate with both Meadowbrook and Bancroft to explore all possibilities. The Select Board voted 5-0 to authorize Town Counsel to engage in conversations on their behalf with Bancroft Estates and Meadowbrook.
Open Meeting Law Complaints
The board also voted 3-2 to seek mediation with resident Walter Tuvell regarding the first four open meeting law complaints he filed with the Attorney General’s office. Haley and Select Board member Carlo Bacci were the dissenting votes. If Tuvell refuses mediation or an agreement cannot be reached, then the Attorney General will issue a decision regarding the complaints.
Town Meeting Warrant
The board voted 5-0 to reopen the warrant for November Town Meeting to add a ninth article submitted by resident petition. The ninth article asks for a temporary halt to all 40R projects in town until impacts are mitigated, and 40R zoning is revised to reduce density. The board then voted 5-0 to close the warrant once again.
Birch Meadow Master Plan
The board also reviewed the Birch Meadow Master Plan with Emily Sisson, chair of the Recreation Committee. Sisson asked that the capital plan for Birch Meadow reflect the priorities established by the Recreation Committee in its process of the development of the Master Plan, especially that the addition of a restroom/pavilion in the center of the complex with its central pathway, be placed as the top priority. Landry agreed, “We want the capital plan to reflect the priorities of the community.”
The Select Board adjourned at 11:00 pm.