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At my first meeting as a member of our Volunteer Appointment Selection Committee (VASC) on June 13, we decided to focus on recommendations to fill vacancies on our board, committee, and commission seats. Our town has over 30 volunteer boards, and almost all of them have more vacancies than interested volunteers.
The Board of Health has two seats for which terms expire on June 30. Both individuals who currently hold these seats requested reappointment. When another individual applied for the Board of Health, we met with them to discuss their background and qualifications on June 13 and informed them of our position, confining our recommendations to boards with vacancies. After interviewing this applicant, I realized that we should have met with the two existing Board of Health members seeking reappointment and then recommend candidates to the full Select Board. Before we could discuss this approach, the applicant withdrew their application on June 14.
I should have considered the implications of our approach for the Board of Health — the only board, committee, or commission with “contested” seats among incumbents and a new applicant. I apologize to the applicant for this oversight. But I want to clarify that our approach was not motivated by “nepotism,” nor do we consider incumbency as the sole factor for recommending board, committee, or commission appointments.
Lesson learned. As we move forward in the VASC process with another meeting on Tuesday, June 21 at 5pm (for which public notice has been posted at readingma.gov), I look forward to discussing board, committee, and commission opportunities with our volunteer applicants.
Member, Reading Select Board