The Marion Board of Selectmen on October 17 voted to appoint Marion Police Lieutenant John Garcia as the next police chief for the Town of Marion.
The board held public interviews with Garcia and Sergeant Richard Nighelli last month, choosing to open up the position internally to department veterans holding rank of lieutenant or sergeant; four were eligible, but only Garcia and Nighelli applied.
“This is a tough decision and I’m glad we’re in this tough decision because no matter who we decide to pick, both of these candidates would be an asset to the Town of Marion,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Jody Dickerson just before taking a vote.
Selectman Steve Gonsalves agreed, saying, “Both men are extremely qualified. They’re just…like you said, either one is a win for the town and this is one of the tougher decisions in this chair that I’m going to make this evening.”
After the vote, Town Administrator Paul Dawson was able to reach the two gentlemen via phone before adjourning, saying, “Obviously Lt. Garcia is ecstatic.” Dawson added that Sgt. Nighelli thanked the selectmen, “…not only for the kind words, but also your willingness to consider him for the position.”
“This was both a win-win for the town,” said Dawson. “I think Sgt. Nighelli represents the bright future [of this department].”
Current Police Chief Lincoln Miller announced back in May his intent to retire come the end of 2017.
In other news, the Subcommittee of the Town House Building Committee will be joined by Finance Director Judith Mooney and Dawson when it comes the time to review submitted RFQs for the design services for the exploration of a town hall at the Senior/Community Center site on Mill Street, with the capacity to vote on a preferred RFQ along with the seven subcommittee members.
Subcommittee member Robert Lane voiced his preference for allowing Mooney and Dawson to advise the committee, but without voting privileges, saying the subcommittee has a very specific goal with a maximum of $34,000, an amount Lane deemed “a very small amount of money.”
Selectman Norm Hills argued that, since in the past RFQ review committees have always included Mooney and Dawson as voting members, the Town should continue that tradition.
Gonsalves voiced his inclination to grant Lane his request, but ultimately went along with Hills’ motion to allow Mooney and Dawson to join the subcommittee to review the RFQs as voting members.
“I’ll vote ‘aye’, but I’m still not feeling it, but I respect it,” said Gonsalves.
Also during the meeting, the selectmen accepted Chief Miller’s recommendation to appoint Sean Day as a full-time officer. Day has been employed as a part-time special officer for one year. “He’s been a fine officer,” Miller said. “He’s been an asset to the department. He goes the extra mile…and I think he will be a great addition to the department.”
The selectmen also appointed Christian Ingerslev to the Marion Energy Management Committee in a 2-1 vote. Hills made the motion, which was seconded by Dickerson. Gonsalves voted ‘nay,’ saying, “I like Dale [Jones’] thinking,” who was one of three candidates. The third candidate was Mary Endsley.
Also appointed that evening was James Verni to the Conservation Commission, Stephen Cushing to the Carver/Marion/Wareham Regional Refuse Discharge District, and Joseph Guard to the Marine Resources Commission as an alternate member.
The board approved the Marion Music Hall Advisory Board’s request to spend $12,000 from the endowment fund for acoustical ceiling tile in main room of the music hall.
Council on Aging Director Heather Silvia has resigned from her position effective immediately, and will be taking another position in the Town of Acushnet. In the interim, COA Activities Director Karen Gregory will fill Silvia’s position until a new COA director can be hired.
“[Heather] connected with the people that really needed the services and she should be commended,” said Dickerson. “She’s done a great job. I’ve never had a more enjoyable time working with somebody than Heather Silvia. Acushnet’s gain is Marion’s loss.”
The position will be posted and interviews conducted before a hiring subcommittee.
The board set the holiday schedule for the Town House, with the Town House closing for Thanksgiving at noon on Wednesday, November 22, to re-open on Monday, November 27. The Town House will be closed for Christmas on Monday, December 25, and also on January 1, 2018 for New Year’s Day.
The next meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for November 7 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.
Marion Board of Selectmen
By Jean Perry