HANSON — The Board of Selectmen has begun its review and discussion of proposed warrant articles for the Monday, Oct. 1 special Town Meeting.
Articles are due to the Selectmen’s office by Friday. Aug. 24 and will be closed on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Selectmen have to sign the warrant by Tuesday, Sept. 11 for posting by Sept. 13.
Town Administrator Michael McCue will be asking town counsel to review the amended recall article passed at the May Town Meeting to see if it covers ethical implications of situations like that of reports about an alleged affair between Rockland’s selectmen chairman and vice chairman.
Selectman Jim Hickey had suggested at the Tuesday, Aug. 14 meeting that Hanson return the recall issue to Town Meeting to address possible collusion that could result from a situation like Rockland’s.
“The collusion between the two of them outside the office — where they’d only need one other selectman to agree with them — yet, according to our recall right now, they could not be removed from office,” Hickey said.
“I don’t think that that’s true,” said Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett. “We’ve got a clause … about some type of moral behavior.”
She said Hickey’s concern does not reflect an accurate interpretation of what the recall revision said. Selectmen Chairman Kenny Mitchell agreed with FitzGerald-Kemmett.
“Based on our current recall, if that happened here, those parties would be recalled,” Mitchell said, urging McCue, who said he was not certain that FitzGerald-Kemmett’s and Mitchell’s interpretation was entirely accurate, to have town counsel review it.
“I think the voters have already spoken on what they thought a recall law should say,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “I do realize that there is a vocal minority that was uncomfortable with where it was landing, but I do think the voters spoke … and they were pretty unanimous about it.”
Mitchell argued that bringing it back to Town Meeting six months later is “going down the wrong path.”
McCue noted that Hickey’s request was an effort to determine that Hanson’s recall provisions would apply in a situation like Rockland’s.
“I assure you it’s not going to happen here,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “This is like the perfect storm – I don’t think you could ever recreate this particular situation. Again, at least while I’m sitting on the board, it won’t be happening.”
She doubted it was possible to legislate to account for bizarre situations, but supported obtaining town counsel’s opinion.
“This was put on the agenda [in case] anybody has articles to put on it or any suggestions they want to talk about,” Mitchell said of the warrant article review. “Now would be the time to do that.”
FitzGerald-Kemmett suggested an article looking at the process for accepting private roads. McCue said that was not necessary as the process is governed by policy, not a by-law.
McCue did say that Selectman Wes Blauss’ suggested ban on one-use plastic shopping bags could be included on an upcoming warrant, perhaps in May.
“I think we’ve both come to the agreement that we’d want to get the word out — a little more information — before we go to the voters and ask them to make a decision,” McCue said. “As far as other articles [for October], I really can’t think of anything else we talked about that we need an article for.”
He did suggest, however, a fund to study rubbish pickup and the transfer station concerning the facility’s ability to support itself going forward. Studies of staffing needs at the Board of Health and Planning Board were also discussed.
FitzGerald-Kemmett urged funding a study of the needs at the Hanson Multi-Service Senior Center.
“Mary [Collins, the Center’s director] is quite excellent at what she does and she’s very humble — she’s not going to ask for all types of stuff — but anybody that visits that Senior Center knows that is a very confined space [and] we need to do something to help out with that situation,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “If she hasn’t already gotten a study, I think we need to figure out what it is that they need for space and then maybe looking at existing space.”
There are frequent occasions when there are two or more programs going on in addition to the daily Adult Supportive Day Program in the same room, she noted.
McCue suggested a placeholder article, which may be passed over if necessary, that could include some future use for Maquan School, which could help solve both issues. He is still looking for and at public comment on the school matter.
Standard articles for the warrant will include unpaid bills, the supplemental budget, the tax classification plan, a stabilization article from the Finance Committee and school stabilization articles.
A proposed Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) program will also be on the warrant as well as a parcel of more than an acre near Hanson Middle School — 0 Liberty St. — to be sold as surplus property similar to the plan for Plymouth County Hospital superintendent’s house. Two general by-law articles on marijuana sale establishments are on the warrant, as well.
FitzGerald-Kemmett also suggested exploring what funding might be required for interim help for the Highway Department, on a project basis, to catch up with work created by the large number of trees felled by the March wind storm and street projects. McCue said it is in the works to rather explore bringing in a tree-removal or landscape firm to assist.