Marion Adds New Assistant TA Position

            Marion’s Finance Director Judy Mooney has earned a new title: assistant town administrator.

            Marion Town Administrator Jay McGrail announced the new position at the January 7 meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen.

            Mooney will not be giving up her position as finance director; her new title, according to McGrail, will be “finance director and assistant town administrator.”

            “I want to thank Judy for everything she’s done,” McGrail said. “She’s been my right-hand person since I arrived here. When we started discussing the responsibilities of an assistant town administrator, I realized that the responsibilities are all things that she does already. Judy’s the person I want helping to run this town.”

            His statement came just as Mooney arrived at the meeting, fresh from another meeting involving the search for a new school district superintendent. McGrail reported that he had initially put himself forward to serve on the search committee, but had come to realize that he had several meetings that conflicted with the search committee’s proposed meeting times.

            “Judy put herself forward immediately, despite all of the other work that she does,” McGrail said. “As she always does.”

            Mooney’s new title will be made official at the next Board of Selectmen meeting.

            The selectmen also discussed the proposal of a recreational marijuana retail store put forward at a previous meeting by Lighthouse Dispensary and Ericca Kennedy. While Kennedy had proposed that the retail marijuana facility take over the location of the former Christie’s gas station, Selectman Norm Hills pointed out that the location is not within the Limited Industrial District in town.

            A bylaw passed by Marion voters in 2018 restricts any future recreational marijuana retailers to operate only within the Limited Industrial District.

            “I think that would be a big problem,” Hills said. Fellow selectmen John Waterman and Randy Parker agreed with Hills.

            In other matters, Marion residents will have the option of attending two public sessions, likely in mid-February, McGrail added. 

            The first, a “State of the Town Trash” session, would be held to update Marion residents on the current state of curbside pickup and trash collection. McGrail noted the myriad concerns of residents when Marion switched to curbside trash pickup.

            “We’d like to let the public know how the curbside pickup is going, and listen to any concerns residents might have,” said McGrail. “I know some residents were concerned with how the Department of Public Works might be structured with the new trash pickup, and we can have [Department of Public Works Director] David Willett there to explain. We also know a lot more about the current situation and future of Benson Brook, and we can speak to that as well,” he added.

            The second session involves a current affordable housing bylaw in Marion. The heads of the Marion Planning Board and Marion Affordable Housing Trust are planning to meet with all members of the Board of Selectmen, as well as Town Counsel Jon Witten, to discuss the future of the bylaw.

            If a proposed 40B housing plan along Wareham Road is approved and constructed, Marion will have surpassed a state mandate requiring that 10 percent of housing in each town be classed as “affordable.”

            Hills reported that Planning Board members are slightly concerned about continuing to require the bylaw if the affordable housing quota is met, as the town could miss out on valuable revenue; the taxes collected on regular-rate housing are much higher than the taxes levied on affordable housing.

            The meeting is tentatively planned for January 30, at 6:30 pm, and will be open to the public.

            The next regular meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen will be on January 21 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Board of Selectmen

By Andrea Ray

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