WHITMAN — The Board of Selectmen will soon have the opportunity to interview finalists in the search for a new assistant town administrator.
Town Administrator Lincoln Heineman reported on Tuesday, Nov. 9 that the search for applicants has so far generated 35 résumés, and the opening will be posted until Nov. 23.
Selectman Chairman Dr. Carl Kowalski, Selectman Justin Evans and Heineman will meet to review the applications to winnow the field for the subcommittee to agree on five or six people to interview. At that point Executive Assistant Laurie O’Brien would take part in process as an observer during the interviews with semi-finalists, as she would also be working closely with the person hired.
“I think including her in this is a great idea,” said Selectman Brian Bezanson. “It makes a lot of sense to have her in the loop on this.”
“You’re probably looking at January for the whole process to be done,” Kowalski said.
The full board would interview the two or three finalists recommended by the subcommittee. Only finalists’ names would be made public.
Heineman said he was heartened to see town has reached the 60 percent threshold on people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Fire Chief Timothy Clancy’s weekly updates.
“The vaccination rate is going up slightly each week,” Heineman said. “A week ago the vaccine was approved for those ages 5 through 11, so obviously, there’s a lot of parents who are making that choice about whether or not to vaccinate their children.”
He also reported that OSHA issued its long-expected regulation on COVID Thursday, Nov. 4, but added that Massachusetts is “completely unique” in a law that references the agency’s rules but does not have a plan to apply them locally, according to town counsel on whether the regulation applies to municipalities here.
Counsel expects guidance from the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to help clarify the issue later on this week.
In the meantime, Clancy and the town’s clinical coordinator are working on scheduling booster clinics.
“Those are set up,” Heineman said. “Any resident of Whitman is welcome to go on our website, where [the information] is front and center, to sign up for a booster if they are already fully vaccinated.”
Boosters are administered six months after a person is considered fully vaccinated – two weeks after the second injection.
There are still slots open on Nov. 17 and 18 and there will be another session early in December.
Heineman also reported that he spoke with the president of the Southeastern Philharmonic Orchestra, for which Selectman have approved use of Town Hall Auditorium for a Dec. 5 holiday concert, as well as an April 24 concert. Both events are funded by the Whitman Cultural Council.
Selectmen voted to honor the request.
Similar to a recent concert by the Brockton Symphony, the SPO president requested that the audience be required to wear masks to attend.
“It’s a benefit to the community and if they’re policing their own requirements, I don’t see a problem,” Evans said.
“We affirmed the Brockton orchestra’s desire to have the audience wear masks,” Kowalski said. “I see this as giving this organization the same respect … it would also be in the interest of courtesy as a host.”
“I believe this is about choice, and they chose to ask,” Bezanson said. “If you want to go, wear a mask.” But he did not see the need, at this point, to extend that to April at this time.
Mission, Vision and Values statements drafted at the Oct. 23 retreat meeting with town boards and citizens’ representatives were approved by a vote of 5-0. Heineman said that consultant Ann Donner had agreed that, if the board is ready to do so, it would make sense as the policy-making board of the town adopt the statements.
“The next steps, in speaking with her yesterday is to … firm up a little bit of the draft five-year strategic priority document and then to have a department head meeting to discuss the implementation of those initiative,” he said of a meeting he would have with Donner. “Obviously, we’re still moving toward having a draft prepared by her and ready in December and a final by the end of December.”
Selectman Randy LaMattina thanked all participants of the workshop.
“I thought it was a worthwhile exercise,” he said.
“It was a good day,” Kowalski agreed.