Submitted by Joe Piantedosi
It recently came to my attention that my amendment to Article 9 at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting “the Fire Station Design and Project Management funding” requiring the Select Board to appoint a building committee is being compromised. Six citizens at large were recently appointed to this committee. Many applicants applied or tried to apply as far back as last spring. Yet the committee was only recently appointed and had little or no time to meet and organize before the design selection process begins. Also, the Town Manager hired an owner’s project manager firm way before this committee was appointed. The committee should have participated in that as is often the case with public building committees. The Article 9 amendment required at least three town citizen representatives at large who have construction experience as defined in the amendment. The amendment also clearly states “that this committee shall participate in the designer selection process and shall provide oversight of the project until completion of construction”. Sadly, our Town Manager decided that only one of the citizens at large could participate in the designer selection process interviews scheduled for March 2nd. Additionally, she appointed herself as chair and gave few options to citizen members on when this committee could meet making it difficult for some members to participate.
I planned on going to the Select Board meeting on Monday February 27th to discuss my concerns about this which I conveyed to four Select Board members before the meeting after I was told that the Chair Emily Mitchell would not allow me to speak about this during the public comment period. One Select Board member who I spoke with told me that he would voice my concerns about this during the liaison reports portion of the meeting. He was apparently silenced as there was no mention of this at the meeting. As a former Selectman who served the town for 15 years I am deeply concerned about the way our Select Board and Town Manager are conducting themselves and I fear that this project is off to a bad start. Also, during the public comment period of Select Board meetings town residents should have the right to voice their concerns on any subject even if it’s not on the agenda.