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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Power Shutoff Leaves Cheshire Mobile Home Park High & Dry
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
Workers work the phones on why the electric supply — in the box at right — was shut off and locked up.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Residents in Pine Valley Mobile Home Park found their water abruptly shut off Tuesday morning over an apparent billing disagreement between the park's owner and National Grid.
The water supply was disrupted shortly after 9:30 a.m. when an employee from the utility shut off power to a section of the park that turned off the well pumps. Water and septic are included in the lot rent but individual mobile homes are responsible for their own power, which was not interrupted.
The park was without water for more than six hours.
Dick Dodge, one of the residents in the park, said there was no notification and that the manager was also unaware of what had happened. The panel was unlocked, the power shutoff, and a new lock put in place that management can't open.
When the Cheshire Elementary School was closed two years ago, the only silver lining to be found was the potential revenue source it might provide to the town through leasing the space privately.
The Board of Selectmen are still working hard to figure out a formula that works. click for more
The board engaged in an hour of discussion when resident Gary Trudeau raised the possibility that the members might have inadvertently violated the state law again when interviewing candidates for the operator position.
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