HANSON — Little Ellie Durgin was likely the only one in the room unimpressed with her mother’s résumé.
As the toddler in pink skirt and flowered shirt played with a cell phone, Police Chief Michael Miksch listed the credentials and accomplishments that earned her mother, Sgt. Elisha (Sullivan) Durgin, that rank.
Durgin is the first woman to be promoted to sergeant in the Hanson Police Department and was sworn in by Town Clerk Elizabeth Sloan during the Tuesday, Feb. 26 Selectmen’s meeting.
She has been a Hanson Police Officer since 2013, serving with departments in Plympton, Scituate and within the Boston Housing Authority before that — an officer with more than 11 years’ experience. Durgin has extensive training in sexual assault investigations and drug overdose prevention, and is one of the Hanson Police Department’s coordinators with the Plymouth County Outreach program on overdose follow-ups and intervention.
Durgin holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Simmons College.
“We have the swearing in of one of the toughest cops that I know — patrolman Elisha Sullivan to the rank of sergeant,” said Selectmen Chairman Kenny Mitchell in introducing the ceremony.
A combination of a written exam and assessment center, in which Durgin earned the highest score, saw all five officers who applied receive passing grades, according to Miksch, who expressed pride in all the officers. Assessment centers evaluate candidates’ knowledge and abilities based on how they would handle real-life scenarios.
“One of the most important jobs in a police department is a sergeant,” Miksch said. “They are a first-line supervisor. … We depend on them and they fill that gap [getting] done what we need done, making sure everybody’s safe. … They’re teachers, they’re mentors and leaders and to test that is very difficult.”
Miksch said he still scratches his head about why she is not a teacher.
“That’s OK, we’re happy she decided to come to us,” he said. “I’m proud to say she is our newest sergeant and I’m looking forward to having her in that leadership role.”
She fills a vacancy created when Lt. Michael Casey was promoted within the past year.
Durgin’s parents watched as she was sworn in before her husband Bryan and their daughter Ellie pinned on her new badge.
“Ellie’s busy right now. What’s she got, an electronic device?” Miksch said as she sat on her mom’s lap playing with a phone. “I think Ellie was going to try and pin Sgt. Sullivan, I’m not so sure that’s the smartest move,” he joked.
Mitchell joked that Sgt. Durgin passed the exam on a Monday and she and Bryan were married the following weekend.
The Board of Selectmen tabled a recommendation by the Recreation Commission to increase fees for weddings at Camp Kiwanee, pending more information on conditions of the facility and market pricing, but approved increases in fees for swim passes at Cranberry Cove — so long as two family passes are made available for check-out at Hanson Public Library for residents who cannot afford the fees.
The latter was passed by a 4-0-1 vote with Selectman Jim Hickey abstaining.
Recreation Commission Chairman Diane Cohen and member John Zucco presented the fee increase proposals.
The proposed wedding price increases are $500 — up to $4,000 from $3,500 for Friday evening or Sunday day/evening weddings — and to $5,500 from $5,000 for Saturday weddings — during the peak season between May 1 and Oct. 31. Additional fees are charged for extra reception or set up hours, security deposits and other non-wedding events. The rates are available online at hanson.ma.gov.
Daily swim passes will remain at $5 per person, but a new single-person season pass has been introduced at $40 for residents, $55 for non-residents and a 10-percent discount for seniors and military/veterans with proof of service. Other current season passes have increased $5 — to $90 for resident families, $165 for non-resident families and a 10-percent discount for military/veterans with proof of service. Non-resident season passes with swim lessons are $115 with guests required to pay $5 each and swim lessons at $125 for the first child, $75 for the second, $65 for the third and the fourth free. Swim team fees are $65 each.
Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett was assured by Cohen and Zucco that a competitive analysis had been done.
“There really isn’t a whole lot that’s like Camp Kiwanee,” Cohen said. “But there are a few facilities … and it’s in that range.”
Selectmen were also concerned about the number of weddings booked, noting a decline for the coming June before the price increases were proposed.
“A lot of weddings recently … over the past few years I’ve seen a lot of last-minute [bookings],” said Zucco, who works as a DJ. “I just booked a wedding for June 21.”
He said people have just started booking for 2020.
“We don’t have a full-time wedding or event sales person and a lot of venues do,” he added. FitzGerald-Kemmett suggested the addition of a virtual wedding video on the website to give couples an idea of what a wedding at Camp Kiwanne would look like.
Hickey and Selectman Matt Dyer, the board’s liaison to the Recreation Commission, were concerned about the effect of a price increase on wedding bookings, however.
Hickey also took issue with the claim of bookings being last-minute, noting his own daughter has been planning her wedding for nearly a year already.
“The weddings have been on a decline since 2016, yet you want to raise the rates,” Hickey said. “The supply isn’t equal to the rates.”
Cohen said the Camp’s costs are also going up, noting several recent repairs, including an electrician called in to look at a light in the freezer, said it was “one flick of the switch away from setting this whole place in flames.”
“You want to make money like a private business, but you want to run it under a municipality system,” Cohen said of Camp Kiwanee. “The whole thing just flies in the face of each other. At some point we have to figure out what is the long-range plan.”
Dyer said he has friends who grew up in town and want to get married at Kiwanee, but say $5,000 is just too much for them to afford.
“They don’t even bother to look at the Camp because they know it’s out of their range,” Dyer said. “We’re walking out of school owing $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 in debt — we’re living in our parents’ basements. Do you think we’re going to go out and spend $10,000 on a wedding?”
Hickey suggested a review of conditions at Kiwanee before a decision is made on the lodge rates.
“Maybe Camp Kiwanee was a fad in 2014 when we peaked at weddings,” he said.
Cohen agreed rustic weddings were a trend earlier this decade, and Zucco said they still are, but offering a wedding showcase event to bring in wedding vendors who can market the venue can help.
Hickey and Dyer were also concerned about the cove swim pass fee increase, with Hickey arguing a 8-percent fee hike for town employees who receive a 2-percent raise is not fair. Dyer suggested the availability of free family passes at the library for struggling families could help.
Cohen said minimum wage also went up, meaning lifeguard costs are increasing as well.
Compared to anywhere else offering swim lessons, Camp Kiwanee, where swim lessons are scheduled every day, offers a better value, she argued.