AYER -- With a handful of appointments to make, the Board of Selectmen also discussed a new crosswalk as well as a new pubic input tracking system at their meeting Tuesday night.
The board made appointments for several Personnel Board positions, calling each candidate up to discuss why he or she would make a good addition to the Personnel Board.
Mark Coulter was first up. Coulter has served 28 years in public service for three towns including Dunstable with nonunion workers, Billerica with both union and nonunion workers and Ayer, which is unionized. Coulter did not have a preference as to which position he would fill.
"I'm all for town employees and I think the most important function of the Personnel Board is to make sure that you take care of those employees. I don't think it's just one duty, I think it is a variety of things," Coulter said when Chairman Pauline Conley asked, "What is the single most important function of the Personnel Board?"
Coulter was appointed to a three-year-term as a citizen representative for the Personnel Board.
The next appointment was police Lt. Brian Gill as the employee representative for the three-year-term on the Personnel Board.
Gill answered Conley's question with, "The most important job of the Personnel Board is to offer civic guidelines for the personnel as well as the workers. They need to help guide both the administration and the employees."
The last candidate for Personnel Board was Fire Department assistant Lisa White, who was seeking appointment as an employee representative, a position she had previously held.
Selectmen Vice Chairman Gary Luca argued that White should have remained appointed in the first place, since her position was supposed to be a three-year appointment, while she only served one.
Selectman James Fay and Conley argued the opposite.
"Any appointment that I make is based on a matter of how they conduct themselves (when in their role) and it is also in my interest to disappoint. I don't think that reappointing (White) would be a good idea because I didn't agree with her actions at the time she was in her role," Fay said.
White was accused of sending unprofessional emails to members of the staff. White claimed she did not know what the board was talking about.
Fay and Conley argued that the emails are public record and that they could pull them up at any time. White did not respond.
To answer Conley's earlier question, "What is the single most important function of the Personnel Board?" White answered, "The only thing I would like to add (to the other candidates' statements) is that communication needs to be improved between the Personnel Board, the Board of Selectmen and the employees."
As the board finally voted, only Luca voted for Whit, who was not reappointed.
In other appointments, Police Chief William Murray brought Patrolman Dan Morrison in for approval of his position. Morrison will serve a six-month probation period prior to becoming a full patrolman.
In unanimous agreement, the board approved. "To those who don't know you, they ought to get to know you. Thank you!" Fay said to Morrison.
The Police Department also seeks a school resource officer, not yet appointed.
The board discussed a crosswalk on Park Street that has been on the agenda for over three years, starting Nov. 1, 2011, when a resident contacted the board through the town website.
Conley, in support of the crosswalk, said she doesn't see a problem with creating a crosswalk if it will prevent pedestrians from getting hurt.
Luca disagreed, saying he used to be in favor of the crosswalk, but after he heard Police Chief Murray's recommendation against a new crosswalk on Park Street, he tends to agree.
Hillman agreed as well. "I think there are far too many crosswalks in Ayer. I think they could be cut in half," he said. "Although I think we need something there, I would hate to hastily put a crosswalk in when I really don't know anything about highways," he added.
Through a split discussion, with disapproval for the crosswalk from Chief Murray taken into consideration, the board decided not to make any motions toward creating a new crosswalk at this time.
A new public input tracking system will be put into action this week on the town website under the Board of Selectmen, which will allow residents to file their input, and also have access to how and if any action is being made to handle each filed piece of information.
"This is to help (the input) not get lost off the radar screen and also so we make sure that we report appropriately to the public," Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand said.
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