Select Board Could Choose New Town Manager in December

During her liaison report, Select Board member Anne Landry reported that there was a possibility that the Select Board could vote on a new town manager as early as December 7. Landry shared that the Town Manager Selection Committee has met three times to review resumes and interview candidates. She also reported being “pleased with the pool” of candidates. Three or four finalists will be forwarded to the Select Board, who might conduct interviews on December 6. If interviews are completed on the sixth, a vote could occur on the seventh. For reasons of confidentiality, Landry could not discuss any candidate particulars.

Community Development Director Julie Mercier shared an outline for the town’s energy reduction plan with the board. This plan is one of the final steps needed for Reading to achieve “green communities” designation. This designation will allow the town to apply for grants to be applied to energy-saving measures. The energy savings plan needs to be endorsed both by the Select Board and the School Committee. 

Mercier explained that the plan would demonstrate a twenty percent reduction in municipal energy use over a five-year period. The plan will include “hard measures” such as technology and building upgrades, which need to create 15% of the savings, and “soft measures” such as behavioral changes, which can make up 5% of the savings. Select Board member Mark Dockser asked for calculations regarding the potential financial savings of enacting the plan. Dockser shared that financial savings and environmental concerns are both reasons for developing a plan. Mercier intends for the Select Board to endorse the plan at its December 7 meeting.

The Select Board voted 5-0 to approve new precinct maps prepared by Town Clerk Laura Gemme. The town’s eight precincts needed to be adjusted after population shifts were determined in the 2020 federal census. Thanks to considerable effort, Gemme reported that there would be no split precincts in town. In the prior plan, there was a possibility that Precinct Six would be split with different state representatives. Once the state approves the maps, voters whose precincts have changed will receive a postcard from Gemme explaining the change. The new precinct maps go into effect on January 1.

The Select Board voted 5-0 to approve a purchase and sale agreement with Bancroft Estates for a lot on Grove Street adjacent to the Town Forest. The board intends to build parking for the Town Forest on the space. The lot, along with four others, is in the process of being purchased by Bancroft Estates from the Meadowbrook Golf Club. The board also authorized Town Counsel Ivria Fried to represent the board at the closing. The property will be acquired by the end of the year.

Connected to this purchase, the board designated Dockser as their point person to enter discussions with Meadowbrook regarding an easement across a portion of its property for access to the Town Forest from the new lot. There is currently an “unofficial” path connecting the two. Dockser will enter discussions after the beginning of the new year.

The Select Board also voted 5-0 to approve a change of manager for Fuddruckers Restaurant; it voted 5-0 to approve a pledge of license for Liquor Junction and voted 5-0 to adjust the 2022 classification plan, adding a mental health clinician.

The Select Board adjourned to Executive Session at 10:20 pm.

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