The Marion Board of Selectmen have scheduled a hearing for what Town Administrator Paul Dawson called the “potential removal” of Sherman Briggs Jr. from the Conservation Commission after he admitted to a violation of Massachusetts General Law c. 268A, the conflict of interest law.
According to the Massachusetts Ethics Commission, Briggs has paid a $7,500 civil penalty after “voting as a ConCom member to issue an Order of Conditions authorizing Tabor Academy to install salt water tanks. Tabor then hired Briggs’ business to perform the excavation work.”
Dawson said that there has been “no letter of resignation at this point in time” from Briggs, who is also on the ballot for another term on the Planning Board, and Board of Selectmen Chair Stephen Cushing said that there should be a discussion of “due process and the next steps relevant to this.” Selectman Jody Dickerson agreed, while Selectman John Henry recused himself from the matter.
At press time, the hearing will take place on May 20.
Elsewhere on the agenda, the Selectmen unanimously expressed a desire to step up efforts to institute a drug testing policy for town employees. Cushing said he was “scratching his head as to why we don’t have one already, but how we get there is another question.” Questions arose as to the mechanism and protocols for the testing, as well as how it would impact the hiring process for union personnel shielded by collective bargaining, all of which Dawson said he would explore.
Most notable among the other Tuesday evening action items was the Selectmen’s approval of the municipal audit proposal from MLBCP, LLP. Dawson said the firm had been “very responsive and diligent,” and that “no stone is ever left unturned, which is good, that’s how you want it to be.”
Dickerson, meanwhile, provided a report on the progress of Marion’s Fourth of July Fireworks fundraising efforts. While he said he could not provide figures, he did say that he is “comfortable and confident that we can continue the tradition.” The committee is still accepting donations.
During Dawson’s report, Energy Management Committee member and Planning Board candidate Norm Hills was commended by the Selectmen for his participation in the mold remediation project at the Marion Town House. Dawson called Hills’ contributions “invaluable,” while Henry, also on the May 17 ballot, said Hills has done a “wonderful job” helping to make the process “organized and efficient.”
Henry had even kinder words for Marion resident and former Selectmen secretary Helene Craver, who served at the Town House for more than two decades and passed away on May 2.
“This is hard to talk about,” said Henry during a moving tribute to Craver. “I’m sorry that she’s gone. We’re really going to miss her a lot. She was a treasure. She didn’t shrink from expressing her opinions about things, and not just because she was opinionated. She wanted to make sure that we always thought things through, listened to opposing viewpoints, and understood that we weren’t always right.”
“She was a good mother to her family, and motherhood is the highest calling of all callings.”
Craver’s Memorial Service will take place Saturday, May 11, 3:00 pm, at St. Gabriel’s in Marion.
By Shawn Badgley