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HARVARD — There is still a municipal hiring freeze in effect, but the Board of Selectmen opted to allow a single exception.

At its Nov. 11 meeting, the board voted to crack a window for the Highway Department to add a position. In a separate vote, the selectmen agreed to authorize hiring one laborer.

The man they agreed to hire was recently laid off from a similar job in Shirley, due to budget cutbacks. The worker is highly qualified, said town administrator Tim Bragan, adding that he’d received a recommendation from his counterpart in Shirley.

With winter approaching, this is no time for a short-handed DPW crew, the board agreed, although the roster is still down by one position. That means some equipment, such as plows and sanders, would sit unused this winter, Bragan said.

Selectman Lucy Wallace asked if it might be prudent to hire contractors, but Bragan said he and DPW Director Rich Nota have come up with a stop-gap solution. The department will pay on-call firefighters as contractors to operate the equipment when needed, Bragan said.

The board agreed with the idea, at least in theory.

For now, though, there’s one more man on board, subject to screenings and a physical exam required for new hires.