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Lanesborough Mulls Background Checks for Volunteer Boards

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Town is considering requiring the members of its boards and committees to undergo CORI checks. 
 
The Criminal Offender Record Information checks look into a person's criminal history to determine if they might pose a danger while working with the public. It is most commonly used for positions that might come in contact with children, the elderly, or the disabled.
 
"I've been seeing that some towns CORI check 100 percent of everybody, including its volunteers on a board or committee, so I did a little more research and it's like 50/50," Town Manager Kelli Robbins told the Selectmen on Monday. "Here we only CORI check employees. So my question to you is, would you like to include others in that group?"
 
Selectman Henry "Hank" Sayers asked Robbins what the cost of a CORI check was and, upon hearing it was free, said, "No cost, we should do everybody."
 
Robbins was a little skeptical of the need to check everybody's background.
 
"So you want to CORI check all the volunteers, everybody that's on every committee even though they may not have any contact with the elderly or children? It would be highly unlikely that, say, the finance board would be having a meeting with kids. Do you see where I'm going?" she said to Sayers.
 
The board and Robbins agreed to look into what, if any, policy currently exists and revisit the issue at a future meeting.
 
The board voted unanimously to accept a new townwide social media policy as long as it passes muster from town counsel. Robbins said she was exhaustive in trying to craft one that works and is defensible should issues arise.
 
"I reviewed I believe 75 town social media policies and this was, by far, the best written of the bunch. If you approve it I would like to have it vetted by town counsel to make sure that we're not overstepping the mark anywhere. There is a lot of case law now that supports this particular policy," she said.
 
Robbins also announced that the Fire Department has received a state grant of $3,065 for the Senior Safe and Student Awareness of Fire Education programs. The programs teach senior citizens and students about fire prevention and life safety issues in case of an emergency.

Tags: CORI,   

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Lanesborough Fills Out Search Committee For New Chief

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Selectmen on Tuesday finalized the search committee for the soon to be vacant police chief position by appointing Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn. 
 
He will be the fifth and final member of the committee that also includes Selectman Gordon Hubbard, Sgt. Brad Lepicier, Tom Voisin, and William Keating.
 
Chief Timothy Sorrell announced his retirement in January after 33 years on the force and five as chief. The town hopes to fill the position by June. Town Manager Kelli Robbins told the board that upwards of two dozen candidates have already applied.
 
Robbins said she was very pleased with the response thus far but was slightly concerned that one of the requirements might hamper the committee in its search.
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