Select Board

The process for selecting new members of the Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) appears to have settled down following a kerfuffle over the appointments that spanned several public meetings in recent weeks.

The Planning Board and the Select Board, the two boards that jointly appoint members to the MPIC, featured sometimes passionate discussion at the Aug. 11 and Aug. 25 Planning Board meetings and the Select Board meeting on Aug. 23.

After considerable hammering out of views, the two boards are now set to hold a joint meeting to publicly review all applications and also seek a recommendation from the MPIC. 

They will also ask all applicants to use a newer version of the form and submit a one page document that aligns their experience with the work of the board.

The dispute over the selection of the new members comes as more people have been applying to serve on some boards.

The Select Board recently appointed a subcommittee to suss out how openings are publicized and how people are appointed to serve on boards and committees with the goal of creating a more equal, clear and transparent process.

The subcommittee members, Roxanne Musto and Erin Bradley, have urged more representation from various voting precincts, making information available on the town’s website more up-to-date and ensuring that the process is more public.

Bradley said recently that they plan to bring their recommendations back before the Select Board’s policy committee and back to the full board, likely by January.

In June, Town Meeting approved the MPIC’s request to increase the number of members from five to seven for the final two years of the committee’s term. 

MPIC was created to implement provisions of the Master Plan that was approved in 2014 and will sunset after 10 years. They have asked for more hands representing a wider diversity to do the work.

At the Aug. 11 meeting, Planning Board Chair Meredith Hall and member Maggie Oldfield presented a slate of three new members for its membership to vote on. It did not include the reappointment of Elaine Benson, whose appointment was made by both boards in January.

Their recommendations included the reappointment of the three other long-term members including Planning Board member Cheryl Tougias and newly appointed Select Board representative Musto.

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