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Following CPC Appoinment Spat, Select Board Amends Policy

by Connie Sartini
The Select Board voted to amend policy for the Committee Vacancy Appointment that will now require the Select Board to schedule interviews with candidates who have indicated interest in the appointment should the Board decide not to accept the recommendation from a particular committee.
     Essentially, this policy has been amended to require the Board to conduct interviews at their next scheduled meeting when all the candidates are available to be interviewed.
     Current policy dictates that when a vacancy occurs on a Committee, the Chair notifies the Select Board and the Town Manager’s Office. The Board and Town Manager’s office then advertises the vacancy, along with a description of the committee’s duties outlined in the Committee’s charge. The vacancy is advertised for a period of three weeks on the town’s website and in the local media outlets.
     Applicants then submit a Committee Interest Form, and when received, is forwarded to the Committee that has the vacancy. That Committee can make a recommendation to the Select Board within three weeks of the application deadline. The applications of all candidates for vacancies shall be treated equally during the recommendation process.
     Once a recommendation had been made to the Select Board, the Board may choose to take the recommendation of the Committee and vote to make the appointment at a public meeting of the Board or choose to interview the candidates themselves.
     The amendment to the Committee Appointment Policy came following a majority recommendation from the Community. Preservation Committee (CPC) to appoint a former member for an opening for one of the two at-large members for that committee.
The Select Board split their vote between Carolyn Perkins, who was recommended by the majority of the CPC and a second candidate, Marlena Gilbert, who appealed directly to the Select Board to be considered for the appointment. Subsequently, there was a request to reconsider the CPC appointment of Perkins that was voted the previous week. The Board did not support that request.
     During the discussion of the policy amendment, Selectman Josh Degen said that this at-large position is a “direct appointment by the Select Board, and I think our Board should interview all the candidates.” He stressed that wording be changed to indicate that the appointment is from the Select Board or a designee. He added that including “Board member or a designee language should fix the issue.”
     Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian suggested that the Select Board should interview all candidates before receiving a recommendation from any committee. She said, “The Town Manager’s office should notify the Select Board when any resignation occurs and that this would then be added to the issues list.”
     Town Manager Mark Haddad said he would continue to refine the Committee Appointment Policy, based on the suggestions from the Board.
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