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Town Administrator Mark Webber is retiring from Cheshire in November and from his other post in West Stockbridge in the spring.

Cheshire Town Administrator Sets Retirement Date

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Town Administrator Mark Webber plans to retire in early November
 
"With a heavy heart and fond memories, I would like to announce my retirement from Cheshire this evening," Webber said Tuesday.
 
Webber informed the Board of Selectmen in June of his intention to retire but had yet to solidify a date. He has been with the town part time for almost 10 years.
 
Webber said he plans to leave at the beginning of November to aid the town through the transition process, giving the town just two months to fill his position.
 
"It will be somewhere around Nov. 1 to allow ample time for the hiring process and transition," he said. "Of course, I'd always be available if need be."
 
Webber, who also is the town administrator of West Stockbridge, said he plans to retire from his second town as well in the spring.
 
The Selectmen thanked Webber for his service to the town.
 
"We wouldn’t have made it this far without you," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said. "You have almost left me speechless, which doesn’t happen too often."
 
The Selectmen have noted in the past that they would like to hire a full-time town administrator but because of financial constraints have agreed to continue with a part-time one.
 
Currently, Webber works in town one day a week and town meeting agreed to increase the salary from $20,910 to $40,000 to bring the work week from one day to three days and to make the position more competitive.
 
The Selectmen didn't have a specific plan going forward but said the position will posted soon in various media, an application deadline will be set and interviews scheduled.
 
"We will go from there," Francesconi said. 
 
In other business, Highway Superintendent Blair Crane said SOLitude Lake Management has finished its five-day cleanup of Cheshire Reservoir, which was plagued by invasive tape weed. 
 
"We got at it the best we could," Crane said.
 
The state mandated that the town had to bring in a rake-like mechanism called a harvester to remove the troublesome weed. This was at no charge to the town.
 
The town was also lent two trucks from the state to help haul the weed away from the lake.
 
Board of Health member Rick Salvi said it looked like they didn’t finish the job.
 
"They missed quite a few didn't they?" he asked. "They got a lot out but there are still a lot floating around."
 
Francesconi agreed and said the weed is still present specifically in the cove areas.
 
Crane said the machine can only do so much.
 
"It is uneconomical there is no way to get them all when you are going 4 mph and you get one load," he said. "You could easily be down there for three weeks or more."
 
Crane said the lake is scheduled to be harvested again in May and hopefully SOLitude will not have to return in the late summer as it did this year.
 
The town had a similar issue in 2016.
 
Webber added that it shouldn't be an issue in a few months.
 
"You can't see it through the ice," he said. "Just wait a couple of months."

Tags: invasive species,   retirement,   town administrator,   

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Cheshire Will Try to Accommodate Hiker Camping

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Town officials will apply for a special permit on behalf of Appalachian Trail hikers to accommodate camping on the Cheshire School grounds.
 
A proposal to place a camping site on the town-owned land came to a halt last week when it was found to be in violation of the town's zoning. 
 
After some research, Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV told the board of Selectmen on Tuesday that he may have found a way to establish a campsite for through-hikers on a portion of the grounds of the vacant school.
 
"I think last week was good to get all of that information out so we know what the issues are but just because there are issues does not mean that there is not a path we can move forward on," St. John said.
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