SHIRLEY -- In a courteous coup they said was aimed at providing a learning opportunity for the newest board member, Selectmen Enrico Cappucci and Debra Flagg voted Monday night to replace current BOS Chairman Holly Haase with Cappucci, who will take over as chair at the next meeting.
Flagg, who was vacationing in Florida and participated via Skype, made the motion, which Cappucci seconded after Haase declined to do so.
Discussion followed. Flagg said the switch, coming a couple months before the election, was for her benefit as she educates herself to chair the board. A veteran teacher, now semi-retired, Flagg said she's never been a selectman before and needs some prep to take over midway through her learning curve.
With Haase having announced she won't run again, she's next up, Flagg said and the proposed move would make the transition easier.
"I'll have to take over... so I wondered if I can see how Rico would do it," she said, adding that she'd already had a chance to observe how Haase handles the job.
Haase said it's a learning process for everyone when they step up to run for public office. Even though she worked in town government for many years and as tax collector was an elected official, she'd never served on the town's top board, she said.
The untimely switch wasn't necessary, in her view, but if the other two selectmen wanted to, she wouldn't argue against it. "I'll go along," Haase said.
There's no set rule about the chairman's tenure, Haase said, but normally, it goes to the end of the term, either on July 1 when the new fiscal year starts or the annual town election in May. As vice chairman, Cappucci is next in line, she said. But each board can vote its own reorganization scenario when the new term starts.
As for the procedural elements Flagg said she was worried about, it's all about protocol and that's usually the same, Haase said.
Cappucci said he preferred the "normal turnaround." But when it came to a vote, he concurred with Flagg, twice. After the first vote, to make him chairman, starting next meeting, Cappucci motioned to make Flagg vice chair; she seconded the motion. Both motions passed by majority vote.
Haase didn't vote on either motion. She didn't abstain, either. She kept silent. She then picked up and carried on to the end of the meeting.
Since Flagg was elected last year, she and Cappucci have sided on most issues the board has voted on.
Other than routine matters, the two have often formed a two-to-one majority versus Haase.