Lanesborough Selectman Resigning For School Committee Run

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Selectman Robert Barton is resigning from the Board of Selectmen two years into his three-year term.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Selectman Robert Barton is resigning from the board.

Barton submitted a letter asking the Board of Selectmen to accept his resignation effective at the end of June while he runs for a seat on the School Committee.

Barton had hoped to resign earlier enough for his selectman's seat to be filled at the June 25 town election but didn't provide quite enough notice.

In a subsequent letter, Barton agreed to stay on the board until his seat is filled at a special election.

That can only happen if he does not win election to the School Committee. The Selectmen will not accept the resignation letter until a completion date is finalized after the election.

Barton was elected to the three-year seat in 2011 in a write-in campaign to defeat then incumbent Joseph Szczepaniak. Since taking office, he initiated a campaign of forming volunteer committees to dig into town finances but meanwhile, he had an interest in the school operations.

Recently, he has been a proponent of educational funding — advocating for the town to set aside extra funds to save a preschool program proposed to be eliminated by the School Committee.

He also recently advocated for additional maintenance funds for Mount Greylock Regional High School.
Selectman William Prendergast proposed Barton should have the option to resign earlier than the end of June in order to focus more attention on school issues. The move would allow Barton to do additional advocating for the schools without worrying about a conflict of issues when the voters may take up the preschool issue on June 11.

In other business, the town's dock bylaw voted last year has gone into effect and the Selectmen are now calling for the state Department of Environmental Protection to place a moratorium on issuing licenses for docks in rights of way and on town roads.

The town had voted not to allow docks in those locations but there is confusion on whether the attorney general has reviewed bylaw and if it has been posted.

According to Town Administrator Paul Sieloff, minutes of the special town meeting were sent to the attorney general's office but they did not include amendments made on the floor. Another document was later sent with the amendments but there has not been a confirmation.

Sieloff is now rewriting the documents to confirm with the attorney general the bylaw was reviewed and then posted properly. That bylaw was passed was before Sieloff was hired.

"My goal is to send it up there and confirm with the attorney general if that is what they reviewed," Sieloff said on Monday.

The Selectmen want to ensure the law is upheld and are asking DEP to withhold any permits to docks proposed for town property or in rights of way. Chairman John Goerlach said proposed docks on private land would still be eligible for a license.

"The townspeople voted last summer and we haven't followed through," Barton said.

Barton also brought up some of the questions debated on the floor of that meeting and questioned if the law was specific enough for the attorney general to approval. Particularly, he was concerned that the law didn't specify if rights of way had to be publicly or privately owned.

Tags: attorney general,   bylaws,   docks,   resignation,   right of way,   

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