Town Clerk to Retire in February

The Rochester Board of Selectmen on January 21 accepted the resignation letter from longtime Town Clerk Naida Parker, effective February 7.

            Parker has been the town clerk for 38 years.

            Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar thanked Parker for her many years of service at Town Hall, adding, “Her intuitional knowledge was phenomenal, she was a great resource… she was very well known, very well-liked.”

            Szyndlar said the next step is to appoint an interim person to fill the position.

            “The Town Clerk’s Office will obviously still need to run,” Szyndlar said. “The Board of Selectmen is required to appoint a temporary town clerk to fill that position until the Annual Town Election (in April).”

            In April voters will be asked to vote to adopt Town Meeting’s approval of an appointed town clerk instead of an elected town clerk.

            “I’ve been working on it,” Szyndlar said. “I expect the office to continue to run smoothly going forward.”

            “[Parker] was part of this town government for a very long time and her service is greatly appreciated,” said Selectmen Chairman Paul Ciaburri.

            In other matters, Szyndlar said she was pleased to announce that the town has been awarded a $100,000 Housing Choice Grant to install a wheelchair lift to provide handicap access to the lower level of the Plumb Library.

            Facilities Director Andrew Daniel said in a follow-up that although the grant is intended for municipalities to use the funds toward housing-related projects, towns with a population of under 7,000 can use the funds for capital improvement projects.

            The plan to install a lift for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility, Daniel said, has been in the works for about 14 years.

            “This roll of plans was in my office when I started the job six years ago,” said Daniel. “It should take me two years to complete but I’m sure – I hope – I’ll be ahead of that.”

            Creating access to the downstairs area will open up space in the upper level of the library by allowing the library to host its more “loud and noisy” children’s activities downstairs and reserving the main library space for a computer area and shelves of library books. Restrooms will be upgraded and town committees may also use a new meeting space that will result from the renovation.

            Plumb Library Director Gail Roberts added that the library has saved up roughly $20,500 from donation sources to contribute to the project.

            “We’ve been saving away like a good Yankee just squirreling away [money],” Roberts said.

            “Hopefully there will be a little more money left over to do some other improvements to the building,” said Daniel.

            In other news, the board approved a Class II Used Car Dealer license for Tony DeBalsi, 203 High Street.

            DeBalsi said he hopes to sell three vehicles a month that he will purchase from dealer-only auctions. The vehicles will be parked and on display in the rear of his property.

            One set of abutters attended the public hearing only to ask about the sign that DeBalsi would want to display – its size and location – and DeBalsi said he would display the sign viewable only from the rear of his property and outside of view from the road.

            DeBalsi said he has no intention to turn his operation into a fully functioning used car lot and would keep his business in harmony with the characteristics of the neighborhood.

            “As long as… the abutters are happy with the placement of the sign, I have no problem with granting the license,” said Ciaburri.

            Earlier in the meeting, the board appointed Elijah Vicente-Roberts as a part-time police officer.

            Christopher Peck was appointed to the Capital Planning Committee.

            The board appointed Building Commissioner Jim Buckles as the town’s 40R-related Smart Growth Overlay District reporting officer and appointed Szyndlar as the Smart Growth Overlay District municipal officer responsible for filing.

            The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for February 3 at 6:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

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