Cheshire Selectmen Discusses Town Meeting Results, Considers Job Descriptions
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen is excited to welcome a new full-time town administrator to Cheshire.
The board discussed at its regular meeting Tuesday the results of the town meeting earlier this week. Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi said that Monday's town meeting brought "amazing news with the approval of the town administrator position."
The rest of the board agreed. Member Ray Killeen said that "early on … you knew which way [the vote for the full-time town administrator] was going," based on the comments by the town members and the applause that greeted those who supported the measure.
Francesconi said the town's selection for the post, Jennifer Morse, will be able to start soon after July 4. The board, however, has not yet negotiated her contract.
Some board members expressed disappointment that the recall measure, Article 17, did not pass. They said that in hindsight, they should have had some guidelines as to what type of behavior rose to the level of recall. They also said they should have upped the required signatures to oust a current member to more than 3 percent of registered voters, or 100 signatures, whichever was lower, as many of the criticisms of that measure centered around the low number of signatures.
Killeen said some voters may also have been confused about the change of some town officials (town clerk, tax collector) from elected to appointed. He said they may not have been aware that this would come up for a vote later, and that their vote at the town meeting was not final.
In other news:
- The board reviewed job descriptions for some of the appointed officials in town. Members spent a lot of time discussing the harbormaster position, saying they wanted it to be a more educational position, rather than a punitive one.
- Francesconi asked Police Chief Tim Garner if they could re-letter the harbormaster boat to say "Harbormaster." Currently it says it is owned by the Police Department, but because the harbormaster position is not a law-enforcement officer, Francesconi argued that the current boat-lettering could confuse some swimmers and boaters.
- Garner reported that he is retiring next year, in 2022, and that he should be succeeded by a full-time police chief.
- Garner also said police reform efforts in Massachusetts could have some drastic consequences for small-town police departments like Cheshire's. Since Cheshire's department is staffed by mostly part-time officers and its budget is a relatively small part of Cheshire's overall budget, additional training requirements for police departments will likely eat into Cheshire's police staffing.
Tags: police chief, town administrator,