ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen will go with a four-member board instead of holding a special election to fill the seat being vacated by Selectwoman Paula Melville.
There is nothing in the town charter addressing how to fill an unexpected vacancy on the board. After researching options, Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington said the board can either hold a special election, which could cost somewhere in the $5,000 range, or continue as is until next year's annual town election.
"I am a little concerned about spending that much money to elect one person," Harrington said. "I think we can make it work."
Melville tendered her resignation, effective June 1, from the board last week just at the end of the second year of her three-year term. She was not in attendance at Wednesday's meeting.
The last resignation from the board, by then Selectwoman Myra Wilk, occurred in June 2007; the board continued with four members until the next election in May 2008.
The Selectmen were in consensus Wednesday night with avoiding a special election but one member did ask for flexibility in the meeting days.
Selectman Scott Nichols was concerned with the board having a quorum at meetings and asked if board members could work around each other's schedules to continue holding regular meetings twice a month. The board also meets in workshops in between.
"If we are in a situation where we may not have quorums, we should consider changing our meeting dates at times," Nichols said. "I am asking for flexibility in the scheduling of meetings."
The three other selectmen present agreed.
"We can move our meetings but let's just make sure we have our meeting every two weeks," Selectman John Duval said.
Harrington said none of the former boards have held a special election and that coupling the election with the state or federal elections later this year would be even more costly.
A petition of 200 certified signatures could overturn the board's decision and force a special election.
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If anyone has ever read the town charter, there are a lot of gaps and issues that are not addressed. If the voters want to force the board to hold a special election, then we should. I understand that cost is high, but if the Selectmen are concerned so much as to have "flexibility" with workshop meetings, that means they are relying on a fifth person to attend the meetings to make a quorum. Honestly, it seems that the board "feels" that they have all the answers, they do not. Its time to suck it up and hold a special election and do right by the voters (also known as a constituency).