HANSON — Former Selectman Bruce Young has been named to the W-H Regional Agreement Review Committee, with resident Marilyn Webber selected as an alternate.
Webber was also encouraged to run for a seat on the School Committee being vacated by Robert O’Brien Jr., who has opted not to run for another term. The 5-0 votes took place at the Tuesday, March 17 Selectmen’s meeting, the last held in-person until further notice.
All meetings will now be held via telephone conference call with the audio recorded to be available for rebroadcast on Whitman-Hanson Community Access TV. All votes taken in such meetings are conducted by roll call.
In an interview over the phone, Young pointed to his experience, and submitted a resume of his experience in town government for the board’s consideration.
He retired from town government in 2017, with nearly 40 years’ experience in one capacity or another, including three non-consecutive terms on the Board of Selectmen, chairman of the Finance Committee during the Proposition 2 ½ transition and the School Priority Repair Committee.
“We all compromised, and we reached an agreement that we would put together a good repair package to basically get a debt exclusion passed to not only fix that roof on the [Indian Head] school, but also to put the lintels on the back of the building to preserve that building for the immediate future,” Young said of the school repair panel, which included members from both sides of a defeated proposal to build a new elementary school.
“I’ve shown my ability to compromise,” Young said, noting he is also conversant with the assessment formulas in question. “Both towns are going to have to compromise on this, and I know what the figures are, I think I have a good plan in place that I can put forward to help that committee arrive at a compromise.”
Webber said she has been a Hanson resident for more than 40 years and has two grown children who have gone through the local school system. She is also a retired principal, elementary grade teacher and reading specialist.
“I’m certainly ready to lend a hand with any of the negotiating that might have to happen,” she said. “I’ve been involved in budgets, and I consider myself a very calm and cool negotiator.”
Selectmen Chairman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett said it was crucial for the representative chosen to approach the work with an open mind and spirit of cooperation.
“The skills we need to have are diplomacy, understanding of the Regional Agreement, understanding of the impact that each choice would have and, I think, those are things that are going to be presented as they start negotiating,” she said.
Both Young and Webber said they were prepared to do that.
“I see all sides of stories and feel I could do that in a cooperative manner,” Webber said.
Vice Chairman Kenny Mitchell said Young’s experience with the schools made him the better choice, but encouraged Webber to consider a run for School Committee.
She indicated she would consider that option.
“I honestly have to say this is one of the toughest appointments we’ve had to make,” he said. “Both individuals are great.”
FitzGerald-Kemmett then suggested appointing Webber as an alternate.
Hanson’s Animal Control Officer Mary Drake was re-appointed to a six-month term. The appointment, which is usually for one year, has been truncated on legal counsel’s advice, as the town is examining a potential regional arrangement with other communities, which may or may not effect her.