HANSON — The town has a new Recreation Commission — as soon as the seven members approved by Selectmen on Tuesday, Jan. 10 are sworn in.
Selectmen voted by paper ballot for the seven out of a field of 13 applicants and distributed the staggered terms of office according to the number of votes received. Eventually all commission members will serve staggered three-year terms, but to start two of the posts come up for reappointment on June 30, 2017.
“I want to say thank you to these folks who stepped up and volunteered,” McGahan said to a warm round of applause from the audience after the vote. “There’s been a lot of controversy, a lot of news on this issue and, frankly, I thought it was going to drive more people away, but we’ve brought in a good group and we’re looking forward to moving on this year.”
The appointments were made by a 4-1 vote with Selectman Bruce Young voting against the move.
Serving on the new commission will be: Brian Fruzetti (five votes, term through June 30, 2019); Rachel Gross (four votes, term through June 30, 2019); Brian Smith (four votes, term through June 30, 2019); John Zucco (four votes, term through June 30, 2018); Sondra Allen (four votes, term through June 30, 2018); Annmarie Bouzan (three votes, term through June 30, 2017) and Diane Cohen (three votes, term through June 30, 2017).
After the commission members are sworn in, Town Administrator Michael McCue said he would contact them to arrange a first meeting date and plans to attend that session.
Also applying were: Kevin Cameron of 205 Partridge Way, Theresa Cocio of 1211 Whitman St., Wilbur Danner of 445 State St., Audrey Flanagan of 43 Baker St., John Mahoney of 96 Main St., and Donna Tramontana of 591 High St.
“I heard a lot from people coming up to me … many people out there want more community events up there,” McGahan said. “We obviously want to see some income generated as well. It actually brings the community together.”
Selectmen voted in the following manner: Don Howard voted for — Allen, Bouzan, Cameron, Cocio, Flanagan, Fruzetti and Mahoney; McGahan voted for — Allen, Bouzan, Cohen, Fruzetti, Gross, Smith and Zucco; Kenny Mitchell voted for — Allen, Bouzan, Cohen, Fruzetti, Gross, Smith and Zucco; Bill Scott voted for — Allen, Cohen, Danner, Fruzetti, Gross, Smith and Zucco; and Young voted for— Cameron, Danner, Fruzetti, Gross, Mahoney, Smith and Zucco.
Young also read the commission’s responsibilities into the record.
“They’ve certainly got their work cut out for them,” McGahan said, noting the first order of business will be helping to interview candidates for recreation director so Selectmen could vote on hiring one of their recommendations.
The vote on commission members was preceded by a heated exchange between resident Richard Edgehille and Young on where the hiring power for hiring that position falls under the Town Administrator Act and Edgehille’s asking for an opinion from town counsel. Edgehille maintained that the town administrator does the hiring.
“He doesn’t hire anybody,” Young retorted. “Who told you that?”
“I’m not looking for an argument, I’d just like it investigated,” Edgehille said.
“I’m not arguing, I can tell you right off the top of my head,” Young said. “The town administrator posts any positions that are open in the town of Hanson and then he takes applications and he interviews the candidates for those positions. But the relevant body is responsible for the hiring and the firing of the individuals that work under them under the Town Administrator Act.”
“I would like to hear that from town counsel,” Edgehille said.
“This is insanity,” Young said of that request, as McGahan gaveled for order. “I know people enjoy hearing from me, but this is not the way it works. … There is no debate about it.”
McGahan told Edgehille he would look into his question and get back to him.
Once the process got back to the applicants, McGahan asked each present to rise and introduce their qualifications.
making their case
Allen of 188 Elm St., a lifelong resident active at the camp, was not present due to work commitments.
Bouzan of 95 Woodbrook Lane noted her experience at Kiwanee, which she described as an excellent place for residents of all ages to get together.
“I started my career off at Kiwanee for the town of Hanson,” she said. “I wrote grants for the camp, I put together Halloween parties for the camp, I organized fundraisers for the camp and I just saw potential for the camp and I just want to give back a little for what it gave to me.”
Cohen of 767 Pleasant St., is a new resident of Hanson, having moved to town 18 months ago.
“My son has taken swimming lessons there for about five years and I fell in love with the place because it is uniquely Hanson,” Cohen said. “I was hoping to bring a little collaboration and cooperation into the Recreation Commission.” She is a special needs teacher in Weymouth and serves on that town’s public safety committee.
Fruzetti of 370 Elm St., is an advertising consultant who has completed a Plymouth County online training program in the conflict of interest law and filed a disclosure form indicating he has an immediate family member with a financial interest — his son Christopher who has worked at Kiwanee as a caretaker.
“I didn’t take swimming lessons at the camp, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care,” he said. “I’d like to see us come together and help the camp move forward.”
Gross of 35 Katy-Did Lane, owns an event marketing company, which works both on weddings and with communities over the past 15 years.
“I find that background is helpful in where the camp’s finding itself right now,” Gross said. “There’s a lot of re-branding that needs to be done as well as restructuring … I think that would be an exciting project to be part of.”
Smith of 38 Sandy Terrace is a facilities supervisor for Eversource. He stressed the need for bringing best practices for long-term planning to Kiwanee to preserve the facility for future generations.
Zucco of 101 Glenwood Place is also an entertainment specialist, specializing in corporate and social events.
“My specialties would be more on the artistic end, generating more money for weddings … elevating the quality of the weddings, or any corporate events that come in, but also making sure that Hanson residents have special privileges in the camp for doing things that outside residents wouldn’t have,” he said.
Health Agent Tramontana and Board of Health Administrative Assistant Cocio could not attend because the Board of Health was also meeting Tuesday night.
Cameron, a previous Recreation Commission member who resigned a couple of years ago due to work commitments, has been involved in the hospitality industry for 25 years and said he wanted to help balance recreation and revenue needs at Kiwanee.
Danner stressed his past work at Kiwanee and service on Hanson Little League, town and regional school committees, Board of Assessors and a past Plymouth County Hospital Committee. The owner of the Meadow Brook and other area restaurants said he is “in a retirement mode” and has the time and financial experience to help make Kiwanee “an income property to the town and not a liability.”
In her third request to re-join the commission, Audrey Flanagan said her knowledge of the history and operations of Camp Kiwanee will be valuable at this time. She was unable to attend the meeting.
Mahoney has been an active member of Hanson Recreation Drama since 2006 and has volunteered many times to help build, rebuild and clean Camp Kiwanee, which he called a tremendous resource for the town.