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Clarksburg Eyes Hazard Plan, Debates Appointed Posts

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
11:10AM / Thursday, April 12, 2012
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Selectmen held a brief meeting on Wednesday night at which it heard a presentation on hazard mitigation by Lyndsey Errichetto of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.

Errichetto said a countywide assessment is regularly updated and that the commission had received a grant from Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to give $3,000 (plus $1,000 in-kind services) to aid towns interested in mitigation plans.

Errichetto said towns would develop risk assesment plans that could then be developed further into action or capital plans but they were not obligated to do so. "It's a planning document it's not designed to be binding in any way," she said.

The board could not vote because the issue was not on the agenda but Selectman Carl McKinney indicated it would be taken up a later time.

In other business, the board got into an extended discussion about the tax collector and treasurer positions.

Mary Giron, who spearheaded the ballot issues that made both positions appointed, said she had concerns about how the board was planning to fill the posts. Giron said she had convinced voters to back the measures by explaining that it would be one job that would be posted and that applicants would be interviewed and the most qualified selected. Instead, she said it seemed that there would be no change.

"I'm afraid I've misrepresented what was going to happen," she said.

McKinney said the problem was that voters had selected two separate positions to make appointed, one of which had to be filled last year and one that won't exist until after treasurer's elected position expires in May. There was also the issue of whether the town could just combine the two posts without some kind of vote. It wasn't clear if that had to be at town meeting, through the Legislature, by both or neither.

The posts had been changed from elected to appointed to create better accountability and customer service, with the goal of having someone in Town Hall four days a week. The board didn't seem sure on how that will happen and debate over who it will be and how much he or she will be paid has spilled over into the budget meetings — and apparently is a hot topic among residents who barely approved the measures in 2010.

► The board also voted to make the ground-floor hallway in the back of Town Hall as the official posting place for meeting agendas. The door will be open 24/7 and a security camera has been installed. Citizens will also be able to pick up various forms and drop off tax payments in a mail slot.

► McKinney said he and Selectwoman Lily Kuzia will review the applicants for town administrator and submit their selections to interim administrator Debra Choquette, who will check their references, and then go from there.

Tags: BRPC,   hazard mitigation,   tax collector,   town administrator,   treasurer,   

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