Select Board: Meeting and Sustainability Coordinator Interviews

Select Board Weekly Meeting

After the meeting was called to order, Board Clerk Tina Hein read the warrants to be approved – $2,088.835.47 which the Board approved.

Mrs. Hein shared the following during Public Comment:

  • Congratulations to Dr. Bradford Jackson – MA School Superintendent of the Year
  • She held a meeting with Ashland’s Select Board Vice-chair to share best practices
  • She will be attending the Massachusetts Municipal Association next week.
  • She recently attended the MassDOT Complete Streets workshop.

Mr. Ahronian shared the sad news that long-time resident Pat Duffey passed away. He outlined her many contributions to the town and her church. She will be missed.

The Town Administrator, Jeff Ritter shared two items:

  • The FinCom meeting will be held Thursday (TONIGHT) this week.
  • On Friday, January 24, 2020, there will be a School Strategic Planning Session – the session is open to all.
Robert Weidknecht (right), Chair of the Holliston Trails Committee shares plans for improving drainage at Phipps Tunnel.

Robert Weidknecht requested the Board’s approval to apply for a grant from the Mass Trails Program to fund drainage improvements near Phipps Tunnel. The proposed work would reduce stagnant water along the trail and facilitate leaf removal in that tree-lined stretch. He estimates the project to cost approximately $30,000 – 80% from State, the remainder from existing funds and Friends of the Trails grants. The Board approved his going forward with the application which is due February 1st.

Animal Control Officer Donna Walsh and Ashland Police Chief Vincent Alfano discussed the shared resource for Animal Control

Ashland Chief of Police, Vincent Alfano joined Animal Control Officer Donna Walsh to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Holliston and Ashland and the FY 21 implications thereof. Chief Alfano pointed out the existing agreement is ten years old and much of its content needs refreshing. As an example he shared the 2019 Calls for Service related to Animal Control: Ashland – 338; Holliston 127. The volume is handled by Donna and a part-time assistant. Chief Alfano hopes to achieve a ‘realistic and doable’ agreement that reflects the climbing volume of work / expense. The Board directed Mr. Ritter to work with the Ashland Town Manager to draft a new MOU in the next few weeks for Board approval before the FY 21 budget is finalized.

Chief Michael Cassidy updated the Board on two topics and shared the fashion tip that the color of his shirt is Colonial Teal.

Chief Cassidy had been asked to brief the Board Holliston’s Disaster Debris Management plan. The Chief reported that Holliston has had a plan in place for the past 10 years. He is ‘confident that our plan’ prepares us for a wide range of emergencies. Also, Chief Cassidy has a ‘great relationship with MEMA.’

He shared two emergency facts that some may not know: the Select Board can declare a state of emergency for all or part of Holliston, and that the cost of emergencies caused by residents or commercial entities can be recouped from the offender.

Mr. Cronin suggested that the Board consider an Article for Town Meeting that formalizes a funding mechanism for Response and Recovery Account to better prepare us for future emergencies.

Chief Cassidy also shared exciting news about emergency vehicle transit through Holliston. All seven traffic signals on Washington Street through town (Highland to High) have ‘traffic pre-emption’ devices installed. Both Holliston ambulances have the electronic emitters installed that activate the traffic signals to allow unimpeded transit through town. He is working to get the emitters installed on all the fire apparatus in the near future.

Mrs. Hein asked about the progress on improving radio communication. Chief Cassidy said that work is underway and four sites have been identified: Hopping Brook, Jennings Road, Jasper Hill and Police Headquarters. The $100,000 earmark from the State will get the project started. Additional grants may be needed.

Finally, despite the recent tropical weather, the Chief reminded residents to clear snow around hydrants if / when it snows again. A 3′ radius around the hydrant does the trick.

Board Business:

  • Approved the adoption of the updated Financial Policies which had received agreement from the FinCom
  • Mr. Cronin and a working group are working on job specifications for a new Finance Director role in town. He will have a draft by the end of this month.
  • Peter Barbieri, representing the Economic Development Committee, presented the committee’s proposed FY 21 budget which includes a 1% ($328) increase. The Board approved the proposed budget and appointed Glenn Brown to the EDC
  • The FY 21 Projects List that goes to the State was approved by the Board. The Schools submit a separate list to the State.
  • The Board reviewed the plan for conducting the upcoming interviews for Sustainability Coordinator and Facilities Manager. Given that there are five candidates for the Facilities Manager job, Chair Ahronian plans to whittle the list down to two finalists after Thursday’s interviews.
  • The FY 21 budgets for Liability Insurance and Celebrations were approved with level funding from FY 20.
  • The Board approved signing the Eversource Interconnection Agreement related to the solar panels that will be installed in the future.
  • The Board authorized the Highway Department to overspend the snow and ice budget – if needed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:42 pm.

Sustainability Coordinator Interviews / Selection

On Wednesday evening, starting at 6:00 pm, the Board interviewed three candidates for the contract position of Sustainability Coordinator. The candidates were Dana Clawson, Eric Giordano, and Matt Zetteck.

Each Board member asked two questions of each candidate, with appropriate follow-up as needed. Each candidate was asked the same questions – thus facilitating an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison.

Following the last interview, the Board began the selection discussion. Each member reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates. In the end, one candidate ‘ticked more of the boxes’,

Matt Zetteck shares his experience and knowledge during his interview.

The Board voted to appoint Matt Zetteck, a Hopkinton resident, to the post – pending successful reference checks and a background check. Congratulations Matt!

The meeting adjourned at 7:32 pm.

Chris Cain

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