Selectmen Debate Whether They Can Be on Other Boards
The issue could be placed on the agenda for the town meeting in June.
Seekonk's special town meeting within a town meeting in June dedicated to the senior center bond measure could include a second item. Three selectmen on Wednesday said they supported adding a proposal for prohibiting selectmen from serving on other town boards unless the panel was in danger of not having enough people to meet a quorum.
A decision whether to add the item to the agenda was delayed to next week at the request of Selectman Gary Sagar, who said he needed more time to think about it. However, unless supporters Francis Cavaco, Dave Parker and Bill Rice change their minds, there are enough votes to get the measure on the agenda regardless of what Sagar decides.
Parker proposed the item because of criticism the BOS received last fall when Cavaco and Selectman Bob McLintock were appointed to fill vacancies on the Board of Health. This led to the resignation of two other BOH members.
"Obviously, there are quite a few people in town who feel we should not be appointing ourselves to boards," Parker said. "So my thought is instead of arguing how we feel about it, why don't we just put it on town meeting and find out how they feel about it."
McLintock said he disagreed with the proposal because it is the BOS' duty "to deal" with problems of boards that report to the selectmen.
"I think this is a big mistake and I think it takes the power away from the people who have already voted all of us in here to do the job that they expect us to do," McLintock said. "They should at least give us the credit that we're going to do the right thing or try to do the right thing in most cases, which is sometimes almost impossible sitting on these boards."
Cavaco has resigned from the BOH, but McLintock is still a member. Sagar sits on the Zoning Board of Appeals. The selectmen are expected to vote on Cavaco's BOH replacement next week.
DATE OF MEETING UNCERTAIN
The town meeting will take place either June 11 or June 18. It had been scheduled for June 25. School district Superintendent Madeline Meyer requested on Wednesday that the date be changed because teacher layoffs could be approved at the meeting, and she wanted those people to know about whether they would have jobs in the fall closer to the end of this school year, which is June 18.
The date will be set next week after it is determined whether a venue is available to have the session on June 11.
The selectmen voted 3-2 to change the start time of the meeting from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. Those in favor of the shift said it would be good to get the session started earlier since it usually goes late into the night. Parker, who voted against the proposal along with Cavaco, said it could reduce attendance because people who do not get out of work until the 5 p.m. hour would have a difficult time getting to the meeting.
Seekonk Town Moderator Michelle Hines told the board she was against the time change for the same reason that Parker opposed it.
The selectmen voted last week to place the senior center measure on the agenda for a special town meeting that will take place immediately prior to the regular meeting. Parker requested this week that the proposal to limit appointments of selectmen be added to the special meeting's agenda. Other items could also be on the agenda next week, when it is expected to be finalized. This bothered McLintock.
"The reason for a special town meeting is to address the issue we're going to be addressing," he said. "To have a bunch of other warrant articles thrown in on top of this thing doesn't make any sense. That's what the [regular] town meeting is for."