ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen have ratified the appointment of a full-time police officer and a new reserve officer.
Police Chief Richard Tarsa asked the board Wednesday to promote reserve Police Officer Natasha Antona to full time and bring on Dylan Vandoloski as a reserve.
"As Yogi Berra once said: it is déjà vu all over again," Tarsa said. "A few months ago I came before the board asking for this reserve officer appointment and I am very proud and happy to be before the board asking to take it to the next step."
The department has been struggling to fill its ranks over the past few years because of the limitations of using Civil Service, which requires using candidates from the state exam list. The town dissolved its adoption of the Civil Service law last year and, since then, Tarsa has been filling out the department.
Tarsa said Antona interned with the department while studying English at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and found herself very interested in criminal justice. Tarsa said she went on to study criminal justice and was appointed as a reserve officer in February.
"She has the praise of her colleagues and as well as mine and I think she has made tremendous progress to get us to this point this evening," he said.
Selectman Joseph Nowak said he was happy to see the department continue to diversify.
"I am very happy we have another woman on the force," he said. "I think it is a complement to the force."
Tarsa said Antona will start July 1 and attend the full-time academy in October.
The board then ratified Vandoloski, who Tarsa said is currently a part-time officer in Cheshire.
"He is a mechanic, but he has a passion for law enforcement and he wants to come here to Adams," he said. "He is an advocate for community policing and wants to give back to the community ... I think he will be a great addition to the department and the community."
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan, who was part of the interview process for both officers, said it was encouraging to meet two young people excited to work in town.
"One of the pleasures of being the interim town administrator is to meet young people that are starting their careers here," she said. "It is great to see how excited they are not only to work in Adams but to be part of the community."
Tarsa said in the coming months he plans to bring more reserve officers before the board.
"I have talked about this before putting a reserve team together, so we can promote our department," he said. "Dylan is our latest addition and I am very happy to say that we have others waiting in the wings."
In other business, Selectwoman Christine Hoyt gave a report on a recent personnel subcommittee meeting that discussed the status of the town administrator search process.
"We did talk about looking at the possibility of hiring a consultant and getting some people here to look at this," Hoyt said.
Since the departure of Tony Mazzucco last year, the town has been going through a search process while Cesan filled in during the interim. Recently Hoyt announced that the search committee could not bring forward three qualified candidates for final interviews with the Selectmen.
One of the concerns was the salary level being offered and town meeting earlier this approved a higher range to attract more candidates.
The screening committee has been temporarily disbanded but the town looks to pick up the search effort again in the coming months.
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Adams Selectmen, Finance Committee OK 2022 Town Meeting Warrant
By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee have approved the 26 warrant articles to be put forward at the June 21 annual town meeting.
Two articles are related to the development of the Greylock Glen and another would update the town's cannabis bylaws.
Article 22 would appropriate $80,000 from the Economic Development Fund to hire a consultant for the Greylock Glen Foundation. This consultant will establish the foundation, fundraise from the private sector and work on other projects.
Article 24 would authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase property along Gould Road for $100,000. The 1.2-acre plot of land, according to Town Administrator Jay Green, will benefit the town's future development plans if voters approve the purchase.
"We just realized that that's a parcel that's a key entryway to the area that we're spending a lot of time, resources and energy on, and it's something that we should probably take control of," he said.
Articles 5, 6 and 7 cover sections of the town's $17 million budget, including operational, capital and free-cash expenses. Articles 8 and 9 are the budgets for the Hoosac Valley and Northern Berkshire Vocational school regional school districts.
Article 21, if approved, would appropriate $5,000 from the Quaker Meeting House fund to perform repairs and inspection. The current balance of the fund is $10,602.70
Article 23, if approved by a majority vote, will establish an enterprise fund for the town's sewer system.
"This is not a sewer user fee. I just want to make that very clear," Green said. "It is simply accepting the provisions to use an enterprise fund, it'd still be funded via tax levy. Over the next year, I think we as a community will be having a conversation about how we fund the enterprise fund,"
Article 10 proposes the town put $250,000 of free cash toward lowering the tax rate. Green said this is part of the town's internal fiscal policy but is something he hopes to change in the future, noting this money could instead go toward road and building maintenance.
"So all the work that we've talked about: roads and buildings and every other thing that seems to fall apart around here; that would have been another 250,000. That would have been half a million dollars worth of capital programming that could have been done," he said.
Article 11, if approved, will add $62,000 to the town's stabilization fund.
Article 20 would update the town's marijuana bylaw to allow cannabis businesses to offer courier services. Selectwoman Christine Hoyt thanked the Planning Board and others involved with updating the bylaw.
Articles 1 through 4 are annual articles that handle filling town officer vacancies, hearing reports from town officers and fixing compensation. Article 19 would amend the town compensation plan, giving town employees a 2 percent increase over fiscal 2022.
Selectman Joseph Nowak said he would like to see compensation for the Board of Selectmen and other town boards to be raised.
"I think people who are willing to serve should get something worth their time. Perhaps that's maybe a small reason why we don't see people running for elected positions in this community and in other places," he said.
Hoyt said the town lowered the stipends during the 2020 budget cycle to save money. Board Chair John Duval said he would be willing to discuss changing compensation.
Article 16, if approved, will allow the town to accept $7,200 in perpetual care funds received in 2021 for the care and maintenance of cemetery lots. The town treasurer will manage these funds.
Article 12, another annual article, will establish a $175,000 reserve fund if approved. This fund, which only the Finance Committee can access, would be used in emergencies for unforeseen expenses.
Article 14 would allow the Board of Selectmen to apply for Community Development Block Grants. Similarly, Article 15 authorizes the board to apply for Community Facilities Grants.
Article 17 authorizes the town treasurer to borrow with Board of Selectmen approval if there is a revenue shortfall; Article 18 establishes the spending limits for the town's revolving fund accounts and Article 13 would allow the town to pay any unpaid bills from the current or prior fiscal years. Adams currently has no outstanding bills.
Article 26 will allow the town to conduct any business that may legally come before the meeting.