The Halifax Board of Selectmen appointed three new police officers to the department including James Coughlin, Andrew Lyczynski, and Richard Crespi III.
Coughlin moved to Halifax when he was in high school and attended Silver Lake. He said, “Since I moved here, I realized it’s a great town.”
Working at Walmart for a number of years, Coughlin eventually moved into loss prevention. This allowed him to become familiar with the police officers in town. He said they’re “role models” for him.
When asked by Selectmen Clerk Troy Garron about how his experience working in loss prevention helps his decision-making, Coughlin said he tries using “positive reinforcement” to help people. One example he brought up is if he caught someone stealing food, he’d confront them, but try to help them by giving them information on the local food pantry.
Coughlin received his degree in criminal justice from Bridgewater State University and is also a Marine Reserve member. He said he sees a future being a full-time police officer. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to give him a part-time position.
Andrew Lyczynski is 22-years-old and lived in Halifax his entire life. He said a lot of his family works in law enforcement, which pushed him towards that same goal.
He received his degree in criminal justice at Bridgewater State University. Lyczynski also has a minor in Spanish. Since graduating, Lyczynski worked as a part-time officer in Hull.
He expressed a strong desire to work in Halifax. Lyczynski said, “I want to get in the town I grew up in.”
Selectmen Vice-chair Kim Roy said she was impressed with Lyczynski’s involvement in the community. Lyczynski volunteered with the HOPS race and also worked in the town’s Parks and Recreations Department when he was younger.
Lyczynski was asked by the Board of Selectmen if having grown up in town, would have any impact on how he goes about dealing with people he knows personally, who might have broken the law.
“It’s an honor to work in the town you grew up in,” said Lyczynski, “At the end of the day, it’s my job.”
The Board appointed Lyczynski unanimously.
Richard Crespi III didn’t have the typical criminal justice background the other two new officers had. He attended the University of New England and received a degree in psychology.
Crespi’s goals were realized while working on Cape Cod, often with children under the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Crespi said he was inspired to become a police officer by the officers who would arrive for these kids late at night when incidents such as abuse would occur.
Currently, Crespi works at the Cardinal Cushing Center in Hanover, which works with people of all ages who suffer from intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Given that the position is part-time, Crespi plans to continue working at the Cushing Center. However, he said becoming a police officer is his primary goal and will be his first priority.
The Board of Selectmen appointed Crespi with a unanimous vote.
Marijuana Host Community Agreement Update
Town Administrator Charles Seelig posted a draft of the marijuana community host agreement between Halifax and 4 Daughters Compassionate Care.
Four Daughters wants to put the proposed marijuana growing facility on River Street. The proposed location is in Halifax’s industrial zone.
Leonard Ticino attended and said he did his own research on community host agreements, including calling the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. He said the town needs some clarity for how the impact fees work.
He cited impact fees for community host agreements in other industries outside of marijuana. He said the impact fees have been pulled and money deemed invalid because of specifications surrounding the laws unknown to the host municipality.
According to Seelig, the Cannabis Control Commission is working through these issues. There isn’t a clear grasp on this yet, so Seelig said the town isn’t taking action until this factor, along with others are known.
School Budget Update
Finance Committee is asking the Board of Selectmen to meet with them on Monday, February 26, 2018 to discuss the school’s budget for the coming fiscal year. The meeting comes from an initial request from Selectman Roy.
Seelig said the town is being hit by needing more funds for this year’s special education budget, especially at the elementary school level.
Selectmen Chair Thomas Millias said priorities are going to have to be made for this year’s budget. This sentiment was shared by the rest of the Board and Seelig.
When speaking about priorities for the budget, Roy said, “This is the year of the need.”
The budget will be discussed more with the Finance Committee on Monday as the two boards try to create a budget before town meeting.
• The Board of Selectmen approved a common victualler license for Nicholas Varvitisiotis to open a pizza shop providing he completes all necessary paperwork and inspections.
The restaurant will be called Famous Pizza and Seafood. It has limited seating inside, so Varvitisiotis said it will primarily be a take-out and delivery shop.
Varvitisiotis has been in the restaurant business for thirty years. He bought his first pizza shop when he was still in college at the age of 20. He lives in Abington with his 12-year-old triplets.
• The Board of Selectmen approved two appointments to the Beautification Committee. Jeanne Kling and Tom Fitzgerald were both appointed to terms lasting until June 30, 2018.
The next Halifax Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27, 2018. Open session begins at 7:30 p.m.