AYER — At Tuesday’s mid-afternoon meeting of the Ayer Board of Selectmen the day after Monday’s elections, the group opted to press on with Gary Luca at the helm, at least temporarily.
Interim Town Administrator Jeff Ritter said his research of the selectmen’s policy No. 99-13 suggests that the chairman is to be elected at the next regular meeting following the election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4. It is then, Selectman Jim Fay said, that the board will “reorganize.”
Typically the previous chairman stays in the role until that first regular meeting, but this year, Chairman Cornelius “Connie” Sullivan didn’t seek re-election, leaving the chairmanship vacant. Ritter’s interpretation of the policy is that the chair is assumed by a continuing selectman who has previously served as chair during their present term.
“I was the chairman before Connie,” said Carolyn McCreary. “The way I read it. … A senior member shall serve pro tem. That would be either Gary or me.”
Fay noted while he and newly re-elected Frank Maxant have previously served as chairs, neither has done so during their current term. Maxant had served two terms before, and after a two-year hiatus, returned for a fresh three-year term after Monday’s elections.
“I’m happy to…” started McCreary, but before she finished, Luca said, “I’ll do it for the week.”
Fay remains clerk and Rick Gilles remains vice chairman. The vote to temporarily organize passed 5-0 – making the first vote of the new Board of Selectmen a unanimous decision.
Monday meeting in Boston?
The ordering may seem mundane, as the next regular meeting of the selectmen is next Tuesday. However, Ritter explained, there may be a meeting either this coming Monday, or the following Monday, May 10, organized by state Sen. Jamie Eldridge.
The purpose of the meeting is a long-awaited sit-down with state Department of Transportation officials, as the town and Mohamed Khan, executive director of the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority attempt to locate the whereabouts of $2 million in bond funding, allegedly pledged for a downtown Ayer commuter rail parking solution during the term of prior Sen. Pam Resor.
As to which date they’d prefer, selectmen deferred to Ritter to communicate with Eldridge’s office to secure a meeting with Secretary of Transportation and CEO Mullan directly. “We’re working on it,” Ritter said. “We’re shaking the trees.”
Selectman Gilles said, “We need the secretary’s approval, not an undersecretary. If we meet with the undersecretary, we’re spinning our wheels again (and) we’re probably not going to get what we want out of it.”
Three selectmen, Maxant, Gilles and McCreary, are to attend the Boston meeting, along with Economic Development Director David Maher. Ritter stated the meeting would be an open meeting held at the state DOT offices in Boston, with date and time to be determined and posted.