Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy gave an update on town business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the June 8 Plympton Board of Selectmen meeting. Dennehy said there had been no complaints about the new system following two weeks of the town resuming public access to many municipal buildings including the town house. Dennehy also noted that numerous town halls across the South Shore and the Commonwealth are still closed and credited the town with taking a proactive approach that allowed for things to get up and running relatively quickly.
A group of town employees met at the Dennett Elementary School to go over the protocols and physical arrangements that would be made in order to hold town meeting on June 17. Town Moderator Barry DeCristofano put together a bulletin for residents outlining what to expect at town meeting. Town Clerk Patricia Detterman is working on a similar bulletin for the town election on June 20. DeCristofano has also taken the initiative in hiring an AV company to provide audio and visuals of the town meeting.
Selectman Mark Russo admitted to obsessing a bit lately about the degree of safety during town meeting but said that he saw a photo of the room setup for the meeting and found it reassuring. A question was asked during Monday’s meeting if the doors to outside would be propped open for ventilation. Dennehy said that due to the risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, they likely would leave them closed. She noted that the air conditioning would likely be used during the meeting. “We can play that by ear and see what kind of a day it is when we get to that point,” Dennehy explained. Plympton School Committee Chair Jon Wilhelmsen noted not just the large size of the rooms but the high ceilings, saying that the additional height would help with airflow.
Dennehy expressed her gratitude for the Plympton Fire Department saying they have gone above and beyond in their efforts to assist with the setup for both town meeting and the town election.
Library Director Debbie Batson began rolling out curbside pickup for library materials on Tuesday, June 9. Details regarding the procedures can be found on the Plympton Public Library Facebook page.
The full library staff is also back working their usual shifts. Batson has also been working on plans for the next phase which will allow the public back into the building.
Selectman John Traynor said that there had been an increase in complaints regarding heavy truck traffic in town. Traynor said that the traffic on Spring St. stemmed from an ongoing project in Carver on Route 44. Building Inspector and Zoning Enforcement Officer Tom Millias spoke to those in charge of the project and was told that it was nearing completion which should alleviate the problem. Further complaints were placed regarding truck traffic around Crescent St. and Ring Rd. The traffic there is allegedly connected to an operation run by Jeff Randall. Millias assured Traynor he would speak to Randall who he described as being very receptive to such conversations in the past.
Traynor told the other selectmen that while some of the complaints were shared with him directly, several of them were found on the Plympton Helping Plympton Facebook page. Briggette Martins said she had also fielded a number of calls to the selectmen’s office regarding the traffic concerns. Selectmen Chair Christine Joy said that if people have issues it is best that they bring those issues directly to the selectmen or town administrator rather than airing them on Facebook.“Well we have a difference of opinion concerning social media,” Traynor, who has been pushing for more postings, etc. on town social media pages, said.
Dennehy said that she had a request for the use of the town green on Sunday, June 14 from 1-2 p.m. for a peaceful vigil to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and other victims of racial violence. Organizer Amy Cahn was in attendance during Monday’s remote meeting and said that she is estimating twenty-five people will be in attendance. She also said that she had already been in touch with police regarding parking and other logistics.
Those wishing to attend may either park along the green or at the library or townhouse. Joy said that she would only ask that attendees clean-up after the event. Russo, who thanked Cahn for her efforts, said that he would encourage social distancing during the event. “It should be a very peaceful, nice demonstration,” Traynor added. As is customary, the selectmen ended their meeting with their rants and raves for the week. “My rave is for the executive branch of government on the state level and especially on the local level,” Russo began. He continued, “With all the stress and sadness and tremendous difficulty we’re facing as a nation, a state, even a town, it is the governors and boards of selectmen, and mayors that are threading the needle and balancing tremendously competing and fiery issues… and finding a good balance.
“It’s really beautiful to listen to people in the executive branch wrestling with issues and coming to good decisions.” Joy said her first rave was for Dennehy, Wilhelmsen, DeCristofano, Dennett Principal Peter Veneto, Chair of the Board of Health Art Morin and all others helping to make the town meeting as safe as possible. Her second rave was for the Plympton Fire Department who assisted in opening the townhouse as well as preparing for town meeting and the town election.