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.
"This is a very tight-knit area so somebody invariably will not be able to participate because it's more than likely somebody's going to know the applicant," she said of the search committee members. "Under the current guidelines, you need to disclose the existing relationship and recuse yourself from decisions regarding that applicant. But if everybody knows the applicant then we run into a problem."
Robbins brought up the possibility of removing the names of the applicants from the paperwork and numbering them to create a "blind" process.
Hubbard thought this was a bit of a half measure.
"You would still get some hints. I'm not sure there's any possible way to redact the names entirely. Also, just because you know someone, as long as you can be impartial ... ," he said.
The board decided to take out the recusal rule of the guideline but still require members to disclose any prior relationship with the candidate.
The board also addressed the topic of a possible amendment to the town manager's contract when it comes to a possible separation.
Hubbard had requested this item be put on the agenda and explained his reasoning.
"Other managerial positions in town have a clause in the contract that removal can only occur with a unanimous vote of the select board. Just to be consistent I brought this up to be included in our town manager's contract. The other ones have it and it would be unfair if the town manager didn't have it," he said.
The Department of Public Works head, police chief, and other managerial positions in town contain this clause. The board voted unanimously to amend the contract.
In some COVID-19 related news, Robbins said the townwide cleanup scheduled for April 27 is considered tentative right now because of the state's social distancing guidelines and may need to be rescheduled. Check the town website for updates. Also the town recycling center is closed because of the safety regulations imposed by the governor as it and others like it were deemed "non-essential."
• The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will be closed until the first half of the resurfacing project is complete. The closure of the first portion of the trail from Connector Road to Church Street in Cheshire is expected to last until roughly the end of July, when it switches to the north end into Adams. The nearly $5 million project will completely resurface the 20-year-old trail and also address some drainage and root issues.
• The 2020 town report will be graced by a drawing from Lanesborough Elementary School second-grader Nina Rather. She was the winner of the contest put on by the board to let a local youngster design the cover for the annual report.
• The next regular meeting of the Lanesborough Board of Selectmen will be on Monday, April 13. Check with town website as Town Hall may still be closed to the public and the meeting may be virtual.
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