WHITMAN — The Board of Selectmen honored police chief Scott Benton Tuesday, Aug. 20 ahead of his retirement on Sept. 16.
Chairman Dr. Carl Kowalski read a proclamation signed by the Board of Selectmen in recognition of the many achievements and honors that had been bestowed upon Benton in his nearly 33-year career including becoming the town’s first DARE officer and receiving the Medal of Valor in 1992.
Benton began his career in 1986 as an auxiliary police officer before becoming a full-time officer in 1990. From there, he was promoted to sergeant in 1994, detective sergeant in 1997, deputy chief in 2008 and finally chief of police in 2013.
“The Board of Selectmen on behalf of a grateful community does hereby commend Scott D. Benton for services rendered to the town and now therefore the Board of Selectmen of the town of Whitman does proudly proclaim Monday, Sept. 16 Scott D. Benton day in the town of Whitman,” Kowalski read from the proclamation.
Selectman Randy LaMattina, who chairs the Budget Override Committee, gave a brief update saying that the committee had not met again since the last Selectmen meeting. They are scheduled to meet again on Monday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. LaMattina said he had locked down a consultant who would be coming to the meeting to make a brief presentation and answer questions from committee members. The only other update from LaMattina was that he had received an email from one of the committee members inquiring about the Old Colony Planning Council. From their website, “The Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) is a governmental entity that was established under state statute in 1967 as a comprehensive regional agency to “prepare plans for the physical, social and economic development of the District”. The Council was formed in response to a growing need of local communities to be able to address the multitude of problems that cross over local boundaries such as air and water pollution, transportation deficiencies and economic distress.”
LaMattina said it is certainly something Town Administrator Frank Lynam can look into as it may provide yet another building block toward a solution. Additionally, Lynam is attempting to set up a meeting between the Selectmen, the Budget Override Evaluation Committee and the Capital Improvements Committee to hear a report from the Collins Group on the work that they’ve been doing. The tentative date for that meeting is September 10.
The Board approved a change in date for the Whitman Area Toy Drive’s tollbooth fundraiser to from Aug. 31 to from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7. The rain date for the event will be Sept. 14. The Board also approved the Whitman Youth Soccer opening day parade for 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 7.
Kowalski also discussed a number of existing vacancies on the various Boards and Committees in town.
The Board also voted unanimously to rescind two appointments to the Cultural Council. One was due to a resignation and the other due to a member never having been sworn in and never attending any meetings. Oliver Amado was appointed to a three-year term through June 30, 2021 on the Cultural Council. Kowalski described the Cultural Council as being wide open and said if any residents are interested in joining, they should contact the Selectmen’s office.
Other vacancies include a regular member and an alternate delegate vacancy on the Triple A Advisory Committee. The Building Facilities and Capital Spending Committee have two vacancies. The Conservation Committee has two vacancies, both with terms ending in 2022. Additionally, two alternate member vacancies with terms ending in 2020 and 2021 also exist on the Conservation Committee. The Economic Development Committee and the Fair Housing Committee both have one vacancy each with both terms ending in 2020. The Historical Commission has two associate member vacancies with terms expiring in 2022.
The Board voted to approve a request from Bruce Perry on behalf of the St. Vincent de Paul Society doing business with the Whitman Food Pantry at Holy Ghost Parish for a one-day liquor license on Saturday Sept. 21. The Board also unanimously voted to waive the fee for the aforementioned permit.
The Board also addressed Environmental Pickup Corp.’s application for a junk collector’s license. The company is purchasing Conway Scrap Metal Inc. from Michael Conway. The current license held by Conway Scrap Metal Inc. will be rescinded upon the issuance of the license to the new owner. The Board asked the new owner what street they planned to use for their business. The new owner said he planned to use 36 Vincent St. as the previous owner had done. The Board asked that the new owner work with residents on neighboring Paul St. as damage had been inflicted on the road from the trucks pertaining to the business and the DPW is unable to fix it as it is not an approved street. The new owner said, “I did speak to the neighbors and introduce myself. I did tell them I’m going to help fix the street as best I can.”