Keeping business in balance as Hanson has new sealer of weights, measures
HANSON — Most residents probably never give a second thought to the town’s sealer of weights and measures or what that official does, much less to the fact that the office in Hanson has been vacant for a year.
Selectmen on Tuesday, Oct. 27 voted to appoint Robert O’Rourke of Hanover to fill the vacancy left by the death in October 2014 of Hanson’s Sealer of Weights and Measures Peter Jones. O’Rourke is also Hanover’s sealer of weights and measures.
“The board and your residents should know that, within the weights and measures field, Mr. Jones was very well respected,” O’Rourke said. “I was saddened to hear of his passing. … He is and will be missed.”
He pledged to get to work right away to catch up on the required annual inspections not yet conducted, though Jones was up to date on his inspection schedule when he died. O’Rourke’s appointment is through June 30, 2016.
O’Rourke is a certified sealer of weights and measures by the state for gas pumps and meters as well as deli scales, price verification units and point of sale registers at retail stores and truck scales.
Sealers of weights and measures are also on call anytime a business changes a scale or pricing unit.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I like to see the businesses. I like when residents see me do the job. … You can explain to them you’re there to be fair and equitable for both the business and the residents.”
He went into the application process not even aware of the small stipend of $3,200 per year — plus $400 for expenses — that Hanson offers, O’Rourke said when asked by Selectmen Chairman Bruce Young if he minded the amount.
For Hanson’s needs, he said the stipend was fair.
“He’s one of the people who works behind the scenes that you never hear about,” Young said. “It’s good that he came forward like this. This is the fellow, when you go down to Shaw’s to get a pound of bologna, you’re sure you’re getting it — not a half a pound or three-quarters pound, but a full pound of bologna.”
Selectman James McGahan asked how frequently inspections are required.
“It is yearly,” O’Rourke replied. “A gas meter or pump, a scale are once a year. Scanners — price verification — is every two years, but a town can request to do it every year.”
“What if you have a gas pump that fails?” Selectman Kenny Mitchell asked.
O’Rourke explained that he uses a five-gallon fuel container calibrated by the state to verify accuracy of pumps.
“You can be off six cubic inches either high or low to legally pass it, but as a rule you want it as close to zero as you can,” he said. “If it’s way out of whack, you shut it down and they have it calibrated. I cut the seal and they have a technician come in and I do another test. If my seal is cut when I go in, there’s an issue.”
He added that, more often than not, a consumer complaint about gas pumps reveals it is the gas station that is losing money.