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."
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Hoosac Elementary Principal Invites Selectmen to Be Guests for a Day
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
Principal Becky Sawyer invites the Selectmen to see a day in the life of students and faculty at Hoosac Valley Elementary.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen were invited to spend some time at Hoosac Valley Elementary School in Adams.
Principal Becky Sawyer attended the board's Tuesday's meeting to issue the invitation to spend a day with the staff and students. Sawyer sees it as a way to not only get to familiarize themselves with the staff but also to see how the town's largest expenditure is being utilized.
"I know the school district occupies such a large percentage of your budget and I feel like it's only fair to let you come see what we're spending it on. What good work is being done with what we are getting [from the town]," Sawyer told the board. "We'd like to have our third-graders give a public tour of the building, and then ... have you shadow a teacher, and then we would invite you to have lunch and recess with our children.
"Which I can tell you is the best part of the day. It's the most fun that I have."
The Green Team is a state educational program designed to empower students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation and pollution prevention.
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