WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town has received four applicants to serve as its interim police chief, the Select Board learned on Monday night.
Anne O'Connor, who is a non-voting member of the interim chief advisory committee, told her colleagues on the Select Board that the search group has interviewed three applicants and is hoping to arrange a fourth interview.
Outgoing Town Manager Jason Hoch asked the Select Board to form a search committee to make a recommendation to his office for the interim post after then-Chief Kyle Johnson resigned in December.
After some initial uncertainty about the level of community interest in serving on the search committee, the town received 22 applications and appointed eight residents to the panel. O'Connor said its work so far has been heartening.
"For me, it's been a beacon of hope," O'Connor said. "There are many different viewpoints represented on the committee, but folks have been working collaboratively, working through differences.
"For me, as an observer, because I'm a non-voting member and there to facilitate the process, it's been encouraging to see their work."
It is unclear at Monday's meeting whether the search committee will be making a recommendation to Hoch, who has said he will stay through the end of the month to smooth the transition to an interim town manager, or to incoming Interim Town Manager Charles Blanchard, who was offered the post last week.
On Monday, the Select Board voted 5-0 to approve a contract with Blanchard to serve in the corner office through Oct. 8 at a salary of $1,750 per week for at least 25 hours per week.
Andrew Hogeland said Blanchard was ready to start in the position on Tuesday and planned to be in town on Wednesday.
As for Blanchard's replacement, that will be a matter for the next iteration of the Select Board to decide.
On Monday, the board looked at a projected schedule for the search process put together by GovHR, the head-hunting firm the town hired to do a nationwide search.
The proposed timeline would have the position posted in mid-May with a yet-to-be-named search committee of town residents reviewing resumes in mid June. The Select Board would in early August conduct interviews with the finalists the committee recommends and hire a full-time town manager in mid-August with hopes that the successful candidate could be on board in mid September, according to the draft timeline.
Current Select Board Chair Jane Patton said she and Hugh Daley will chair the search committee, which will have up to 12 community members, including members from other town committees, like the Finance Committee.
"We cannot have a bigger community than this," Patton said. "It becomes unwieldy and impossible to get a quorum."
Any resident interested in serving on the Town Manager Search Committee should email a letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 21, Patton said. Interested residents should include some information about themselves and why they want to serve, and they can include a resume.
Patton said that the town will keep that email address open throughout the search process to continue taking feedback, and that she and Daley will host the first listening session related to the search on Wednesday, April 14, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom
"We really want to hear from folks," Patton said. "We know there are voices out there that want to be heard, and we're working at creating platforms to be able to do that."
Monday's Select Board meeting covered a wide range of topics — from the board's annual Arbor Day Proclamation to a review of the draft warrant for June's annual town meeting.
On the latter note, Hoch informed the board and the viewing audience for Monday's meeting that the deadline to submit warrant articles for the town meeting via citizens' petition is Monday, April 19. Articles brought by citizen's petition need 10 certified signatures from residents to get on the warrant.
Hoch used Monday's meeting to inform the board and the town that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is planning work on Moody Bridge, which carries Simonds Road (Route 7) over the Hoosic River and a railroad line, for the spring and summer of 2022.
MassDOT anticipates that the work will require closure of the bridge on three weekends but has not determined which three weekends, he said. The state agency is asking for input from the town about which weekends would be least disruptive; Hoch mentioned that the town likely would want to avoid events like Williams College's graduation and reunion weekend as well as the move-in period for the college's Fall 2022 semester.
Hoch said MassDOT chose weekends for the work because traffic counts and, in particular, truck traffic counts, are significantly lower on Saturday and Sunday. The bridge closure likely will mean detouring traffic over Bridges and North Hoosac Road to Cole Avenue and back to Main Street (Route 2).
"We're bringing this up now, one to provide some awareness and two, to get it on people's radar screens over the next week so if there are particular weekends to avoid in the May-to-September time frame, email me," Hoch said.
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Williams College Celebrates Staff Members on Annual Appreciation Day
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — On May 4, Williams College celebrated its annual Appreciation Day which honors staff members who have reached milestones in their service to the college.
The day is an opportunity for community members to offer thanks to the staff whose contributions uphold the college's functionality and excellence.
This year's retirees are Michael Briggs, Jane Canova, Barb Casey, Thoeun Ching, Marilyn Cole Dostie, Robin Coody, Maggie Driscoll, Donald Girard, John Gravel, Frederick Jolin, Walter Komorowski, Nancy Luczynski, James Menard, JoAnne Moran, Robert Neville, Robert Noel, Michael Noyes, Roger Parks, Alesia Parks, Michael Reopell, Barbara Robertson, Ellen Rougeau, Donna Santiago, Tony Sinico, Theodore Stefanik, Roberta Sweet, Stacy Sylvester, and
Babcock is in Williamstown this month removing a 19th-century barn from a property on Green River Road (Route 43). In the not-too-distant future, he will be back in town putting the same barn back together on the property of the Williamstown Historical Museum.
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The Select Board last summer created what became the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee as an advisory panel. Members of that panel this week questioned why the Select Board has not appeared willing to consider the advice the DIRE Committee has provided.
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As it nears the end of its inaugural year and faces the first departure of a founding member, the town's diversity committee Monday reflected on the importance of the discussions it has had and the perspectives it has centered in the town's conversation. click for more
On what promises to be the most controversial issue up for discussion, the board broke with the Planning Board, voting 4-1 against recommendation of the cannabis cultivation bylaw that the planners focused on for the past year.
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