Resigning as selectman for professional, personal reasons
By Tracy F. Seelye, Express editor
HANSON — Citing “both personal and professional” considerations after “considerable thought,” Selectmen Chairman David Soper has announced his resignation from office effective Wednesday, Oct. 8.
“This is obviously not something that was planned,” Soper told the board Tuesday, Sept. 16. “There’s been a lot of delibaration in the Soper household. Just know this is not on my terms and I will miss my role on the board.”
There is one year and seven months left in his term and the board, voicing appreciation for Soper’s years of service and regret at his decision, voted 4-0 to schedule a special election for Saturday, Dec. 13 — the earliest date on which an election could be set under Mass. General Law.
If Town Meeting votes to send a school roof question to the ballot, it would also be Dec. 13, although it could have been scheduled as early as Nov. 15 had it appeared on a ballot separate from the selectman seat. Whether a ballot question will be voted will be decided on Town Meeting night.
Town Administrator Ron San Angelo said in the little over a year that he has worked with Soper they have had a wonderful working relationship.
“I wanted to say thank you, both as a town administrator and a citizen, for the work that you’ve done on behalf of the town,” San Angelo said. “Your work has been appreciated.”
Selectman Don Howard agreed with San Angelo’s sentiments, but argued the board needed full membership.
“I think we should fill it,” Howard said to the board’s agreement. “Nothing against David, but I think we should have five members on the board and I think we should do it as soon as we can do it.”
Selectman Bruce Young said he, too, was leaning toward voting right away to set a Dec. 13 election.
“It gives people more notice that an election will take place, rather than waiting for the October Town Meeting,” he said.
In other business, the board finalized the special Town Meeting warrant, removing four of the 46 proposed articles as no longer applcable or redundant. Town Meeting convenes at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 6 at the Hanson Middle School auditorium. Selectmen suggested that, with so many articles on the warrant, a second night at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7 may be required.
One of the removed articles, relates to rekeying doors at Maquan School, as windows along side classroom doors complicate security even with new locks and the new ALICE (Alert, Lock down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) approach to live shooter training emphasizes evacuation over shelter in place procedures.
“What they’re finding is in some cases an evacuation is much better than an actual lockdown,” said Selectmen Bill Scott regarding discussion with Police Chief Michael Miksch on the ALICE approach. “The glass to the side of the door could easily be broken.”
Also removed were articles seeking an indoor ventilator for the Maquan School office, pending further air-quality testing, as well as an article seeking funds for public bid documents for the Indian Head roof, as is would be included in the process of repairing or replacing the roof and is covered in two other articles.
The fourth article removed was one seeking creation of a revolving fund from a portion of subdivision review fees to pay for sidewalk projects. The current town counsel agreed with former counsel Kopelman & Paige that the fund would be illegal.
Soper asked if another funding solution could be found.
“We, as a town, have not been responsive to the needs of our community,” he said adding and improving sidewalks near the train station could boost ridership, for example.
Language — revised by the School Committee and town attorney — was also adjusted in two other articles to update the wording concerning the roof and lintel questions for Indian Head School.
Selectmen also heard a presentation from Plymouth County Treasurer Tom O’Brien, County Commissioner Sandra Wright, state Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Duxbury, and state Sen. Tom Kennedy, D-Brockton, about a $75,000 grant for pond maintenance.
The award was funded through Plymouth County via a line item in the state budget secured by Cutler and Kennedy. Hanson has been selected to be the first recipient for the pilot program.