HANSON — The Hanson Board of Selectmen Tuesday May 23, expanded the scope and changed the name of its school buildings repair committee.
It was the board’s first meeting since the May 20 election, kicking off with the swearing-in of new selectmen Jim Hickey and Laura Fitzgerald-Kemmett, who were active in discussion and ready to provide input on many of the agenda items.
Most of the meeting dealt with Indian Head and Maquan School Priority Repair Committee, the name of which is being changed to reflect the concerns about all three Hanson school buildings.
The Selectmen decided to vote on renaming the committee to the concise School Repair Committee. They also unanimously voted to add the Hanson Middle School to this committee after discussing the responsibility and role of the committee.
“Maybe we need to incorporate all of the town buildings into this committee because they’re all in disrepair and we always seem surprised when something like a roof leak comes up,” Selectman Fitzgerald-Kemmett said.
Chairman McGahan agreed.
“We have a need for a group to focus on town buildings,” he said.
Selectman Howard asked if the school department didn’t take care of schools?
Essentially, the argument is that the schools shouldn’t be incorporated with town buildings, as the responsibility is lying in different pockets. Whitman contributes money to the school department. There is also the matter of people covering the school buildings not having knowledge of the happenings of town buildings.
“I don’t know if this committee is the way to do it (determining the needs to repair town buildings),” Selectman Kenny Mitchell said.
In response to the arguments, Fitzgerald-Kemmett said, “It’s evolving to where we need two or three committees… Bring groups together so they can prioritize what they all need.”
Selectman Hickey differed.
“I don’t know if we want to make two or three new committees,” he said. “We have enough trouble getting people to join our current committees.”
“This town is committee-ing itself to death,” School Committee chairman, and member of the Indian Head and Maquan School Priority Repair Committee, Bob Hayes said. He argued that regardless of how many committees there are, the town still has to vote to listen to them.
Town Administrator Michael McCue felt that this was something that could not be accomplished during this meeting. He thought the discussion was healthy but they should attend to the matter at hand, which was the Indian Head and Maquan School Priority Repair Committee.
The former selectman member of this committee was Bruce Young. Due to his retiring, the members had to vote on his replacement. Hickey said that he would like to take on this responsibility and the members voted to approve him unanimously. This will, of course, be his first committee as a selectman.
The meeting began with their swearing in with many attended the meeting in order to see these Hanson residents officially become Selectmen and there was applause from the crowd.
The board then reorganized, voting James McGahan back as chairman and Mitchell as vice chairman.