Plympton Selectmen met on Tuesday, May 30. Normally the Board doesn’t meet following a Monday holiday, but newly elected Selectman Mark Russo requested the meeting in order to establish written objectives and priorities for the town for the year.
When naming their individual objectives, all three Selectmen emphasized successfully hiring a Town Administrator. Russo said, “Getting the right person is the number one priority.”
Right now, the Board is strongly considering using the Collin’s Center firm based out of UMass Boston, for their search. Another option is also being explored, but details were not discussed. Selectman John Traynor said, “I am impressed by the Collin’s Centers process,” referring to their screening process and identification of town goals and values from the beginning of the search process.
As another goal, Selectmen Chair Christine Joy wants a larger social media presence for the town. All members of the board agreed and said that this could be one facet of the responsibility for the new town administrator.
Other priority objectives included the planning and building of the new police station approved at the Annual Town Meeting. John Traynor identified public safety in general as a priority because of the future plans for the fire station down the line. The Dennett School water system, promoting volunteerism, upgrading IT, economic development, and grants were all discussed in brief as other important goals for town improvement.
Mark Russo believes Plympton is in a unique situation where they may be attractive for grants. He said, “Plympton was one of the first Community Compact towns in the state.”
Community Compact was an executive order from Governor Charlie Baker put in place on January 23, 2015. The purpose of this executive order as put by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito is “To elevate the administration’s partnerships with cities and towns in all communities of the Commonwealth.” John Traynor added, “We have a good story.
Traynor told the Board that he’s been in discussion with three different consultant groups regarding the Fire Department/EMS study. The three groups mentioned include Ernest Horn, the Matrix Group, and the Carlson Group. Traynor said, “All three will get me a proposed approach later in the week.”
Selectmen finished establishing which board member will be liaison for the different boards and committees of the town.
John Traynor will be the liaison for the following:
• Fire Department • IT • Finance Committee • Town Clerk • Historical Society • Cultural Council
Christine Joy will be the liaison for the following:
• School Committee • Building Department • Planning Board • Zoning Board • Board of Health • Bylaw Review Committee • Animal Control • Highway Department • Old Colony Planning Council • Recreation Commission • Tree Warden
Mark Russo will be the liaison for the following:
• Police Department • Public Safety Building Committee • Conservation Commission • Garden Club • Historic District Commission • Library • Council on Aging • Agricultural Commission • Community Preservation Committee • Veteran’s services
The Board also discussed whether or not boards and committees should be required to video tape all of their official meetings. Originally this was something the board wanted to think about implementing in April of this year and sent out letters previously to the different boards, departments, and committees to let them know what they were thinking of doing.
Both the Board of Assessors and the Board of Health expressed concerns. The Board of Selectmen also recognize that this is something they could only enforce on committees they appoint. They are not able to enforce this on other elected boards without a change to town bylaws.
There was some disagreement between John Traynor and Mark Russo on the level of transparency that the boards are already giving. Russo says the boards are showing transparency by posting more detailed agendas to the town website prior to meetings. He also said that people who see something that interests or concerns them on the agenda can go to a meeting and have in the past.
Traynor said he disagreed and would like to see committees and boards post their meeting as online videos as the selectmen do. He said that in other towns, this is done easily by turning on a laptop with a web camera in the meeting room and simply posting after the meeting.
All members of the board agreed this isn’t a priority at this time and will be focusing their time on hiring a town administrator and other priorities identified at the meeting.