Committee Set for Town Administrator Search

            October is fast approaching – well, maybe not that fast – but in terms of days remaining for Michael Gagne in his role as Mattapoisett’s town administrator, the days are dwindling down. And so, during the July 9 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectman, Gagne presented the selectmen with a list of volunteers willing to take on the responsibility of screening the 25 applicants who have submitted letters of interest and curriculum vitae for consideration.

            “The submission period ended on Monday,” Gagne reported. He said the volunteers willing to help the selectmen in their selection of his replacement are John Decosta, James Turse, Don Karlstrom, Bonne DeSousa, and Pat Donoghue. Gagne will also be a member of the committee.

            Selectman Paul Silva said he wanted the committee to select the best three from the field. He said the selectmen would then prioritize the candidates and interview them in a public forum.

            During his report, Gagne told the board that appointments and reappointments to boards and committees would take place during their next meeting on August 13. He reminded the public that anyone seeking to be appointed to a board or committee or reappointment were required to submit a letter of interest to the selectmen.

            Gagne said that new lock-out tag-out safety policies and procedures had been implemented as part of the adoption of an overall workplace policy. He said the new and updated policies will bring greater safety to the workplace and are especially intended for those working with equipment or in hazardous environments such as water, sewer, and highway employees. He stated that these safety procedures coupled with upcoming OSHA training means that “we are moving in the right direction.”

            In other business, the selectmen accepted a 14-acre gift of land from Robert Gingras, a parcel abutting Old Hammondtown School. The acreage will be available to the public for passive recreational purposes, Gagne said.

            Regarding reverse-911 calling, Gagne reported that a company named Code Red offered cloud-based communication services used to inform and communicate with residents on a variety of platforms like cell phones, text messaging, email, and landlines. He said that no contract was necessary and suggested that the town try the service for a period of six months at a rate of $200 per month. After a six-month trial, the system’s functionality with respect to the needs of the community would be evaluated before continuing further with the program. The selectmen voted to try it out. Further details will be made available on the town’s website that will direct residences on how to sign up for inclusion.

Gagne said this type of service was “vital” during storm events, road closures, municipal maintenance work, and other types of public matters requiring communication.

            Gagne also discussed grant applications currently being sought for the Industrial Park infrastructure upgrades and roadway improvements. Those grants are Mass Works, Economic Development Assistance, and a PARC Grant. The latter is a federal program for shared-use roadways.

            Gagne also took the time to acknowledge the volunteerism and depth of knowledge and commitment of Bonne DeSousa and Robin Lapore for their grant writing skills and willingness to tackle such complicated documents. He also thanked State Representative William Straus and his team for their continuing assistance in these matters.

            After a period of public review, Gagne announced there were no changes to the new shellfish regulations drafted by Harbormaster Jill Simmons. The document was approved for release and will be made available on the town’s website.

            In a related matter, the selectmen asked Simmons to relocate the equipment used for water filtration purposes during the propagation of shellfish. The equipment known as an upweller draws water from the seafloor to the surface, forcing it through cages where young shellfish are grown. There was some discussion on where it should be moved to from its current location at the end of Mello Wharf. Ultimately, it was decided it would be placed at the end of Long Wharf.

            Regarding shellfishing in Mattapoisett, the selectmen lauded the hard work of numerous volunteers who are responsible for bringing recreational shellfishing back to a healthy viable state. Of special note was Bill Mansfield, who Gagne said had been coordinating the program for years. Selectman Jordan Collyer noted that on Sunday, July 14, at 10:30 am in Pine Island Cove, a group will be placing young shellfish into the sea.

            Allen Decker of the Buzzards Bay Coalition sought and received the support of the selectmen in the conveyance of a small 4-acre parcel owned by the Buzzards Bay Coalition at the “Shaw Farm” reservation that straddles Fairhaven and Mattapoisett. He explained that this conveyance to Philip DeNormandie, the abutting property owner, was part of an original plan with DeNormandie whose large holdings in the area have been significantly granted as public lands.

            A public hearing on the application by Pandolfi’s Mattapoisett Diner, Brian Vose, for an all alcohol license and entertainment license was partially granted. Collyer and Silva were in agreement with granting the entertainment license, but the all alcohol license caused Silva to say, “I’m ready to give you a beer and wine license, but I don’t see the need for all alcohol.”

            Collyer countered, “I have no problem with this.”

            In the end, the alcohol license hearing was continued until August 13 to allow for a full board’s attendance and to give Silva more time to review the request.

            And what could be more apropos to summer than Shakespeare in the park? Shipyard Park, that is. Gagne explained that he had received a request from a local Shakespeare performance group for use of the iconic location on August 4 at 1:00 pm for a production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” The selectmen approved the request.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for August 13 at 6:30 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

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