Dalton Policy Restricts New Membership for Green Committe
DALTON, Mass — A town policy that does not allow family members to join the same committee blocked the addition of a Green Committee member.
Green Committee members Wendy E. Brown informed her peers at a meeting on Jan. 4 that her son expressed interest in joining the panel, however, a new town policy does not allow residents from the same family to join the same committee.
Town Manager Tom Hutcheson said this new policy is in place to avoid "the potential excessive weight of one opinion" and to get a broader range of opinions to best reflect the population.
Green Committee member David Wasielewski questioned why some other committees have family members on the same panel.
Hutcheson said committees that already have family members on the same panel prior to the new policy have been "grandfathered in."
There are 4 vacant seats on the committee. Currently, the Green Committee only has three members. There has been little interest from members of the public in filling these vacancies.
The last member to join was Thomas Irwin who joined 17 months ago.
"The unfortunate thing here is that we have so few people on the committee that if somebody sneezes then the committee has no quorum, and we can't do anything," Irwin said.
With that in mind, Irwin asked if this is something they could take to the Select Board to get a possible exception to this policy.
Hutcheson preferred not to attempt this.
"I would much rather not do that. I would recommend against that, I'm afraid. I realized that the position that committee is in but it is, unfortunately, a bad precedent that I would not like to see repeated in other committees," Hutcheson said.
Another concern raised is that if someone resigns, then the Green Committee would no longer exist, Irwin said.
Irwin felt because of this and with many boards struggling to fill their ranks, the town should reconsider this policy.
Hutcheson said he would look at where the town advertises for committee members to confirm the Green Committee is on that list.
The board mentioned possibly bringing Brown’s son, who is 22 years old, on, having him on to help out. He would not be a voting member.
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