SHIRLEY -- With town elections coming up in May, Town Moderator George Knittel announced some time ago that he would step down.
Knittel is still in office now and fulfilled one of its lesser-known duties Monday night, convening a session of the Nashoba Tech School Committee Appointing Committee during the selectmen's meeting.
In addition to presiding at Town Meetings, the moderator's role also includes appointing the Finance Committee, which functions as an independent advisory board. He also appoints (with selectmen and Shirley's ASRSD School Committee members, which, together with the moderator, make up the committee) Shirley members to the Nashoba Valley Technical High School District School Committee.
Each of the eight member towns in the Nashoba Tech regional school district -- Ayer, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Townsend, Chelmsford, Westford and Shirley -- has a designated number of seats on the school board for full and alternate members, based on student enrollment. Currently, Shirley has one full membership and for the first time in three decades will have not only that seat filled but the alternate's position as well.
Jennifer Rhodes is Shirley's full-time member on the Nashoba Tech school board and currently its chairman. Her three-year term expires this year but she has offered to continue, Knittel said, and Tania Clark has stepped up to serve as alternate.
Known for his courtesy, meticulous attention to detail and conducting meetings by the rules and by the book - including his own book, "Town Meeting Time" -- this meeting was no exception for Knittel, even though, as he said, the Appointing Committee meets only when it's called for, once every two or three years.
After explaining the process, Knittel, having established that a quorum was present, asked the selectmen to call a recess so the Appointing Committee could convene, do its job and "dissolve" when it's business was done, allowing the board to re-start its meeting in progress. He also asked Chairman Kendra Dumont if the selectmen's staff would record minutes in accordance with the state Open Meeting Law and file them with the Town Clerk. She readily agreed.
Rhodes didn't attend the meeting, having been informed that her presence wasn't required, Knittel said. But Clark was there and she was asked to speak.
A 13-year town resident, Tania Clark graduated from Groton-Dunstable Regional High School and originally came from Ayer, she said. She has two daughters, one of whom is a freshman at Nashoba Tech. The other, 10, attends Groton Country Day School.
Clark said she's seeking to "get involved" in her older daughter's school and to become "more connected" to public affairs in town.
Noting that the position(s) were advertised and the meeting duly posted, Knittel asked if there were any other nominees or volunteers for either of the positions. Hearing none, he called for a vote. The committee voted unanimously to appoint Rhodes to serve another three-year term and Clark to serve as alternate. Then, the committee dissolved, wrapping up business in about 15 minutes, start to finish.