SHIRLEY — When selectmen held a hearing on the proposed removal of 11 trees from the town common at the request of the nonprofit Shirley Meetinghouse group a couple of weeks ago, crossed communication lines led to a continuance.

When the hearing re-opened last night, everybody was on the same page.

At the earlier session, Meetinghouse member Robert Adam explained why the trees had to go. Some were dead or dying. Others were encroaching on the building. Oaks in particular, drew squirrels that got into the building and gnawed on the innards of a restored antique organ housed in the old church that is still in use.

Selectman Andy Deveau questioned the need for so many trees to be sacrificed. Citing shade-tree bylaws and the tree warden’s historical reluctance to cut them down, he suggested pruning some of the trees instead, reducing the number on the hit list.

But another member, Holly Haase, said the group had pointed out targeted trees to DPW foreman Paul Farrar, who is also the town’s tree warden, and he didn’t object. In fact, Farrar marked them for removal, she said. Just about a done deal, in their view.

After further discussion, the long and short of the matter was that the selectmen wanted to close the communication gap before voting on the request. So they rescheduled the hearing and agreed to arrange a site visit in the meantime.

One very cold morning last week, Selectman Kendra Dumont met with Farrar and Meetinghouse members at the old church on the common to take a look at the trees.

They agreed on a list: eight trees to be cut, three to be saved and pruned, and not a single shade tree bordering the road affected, Dumont said.

Adam again spoke for the Meetinghouse group, which privately maintains the town’s oldest public building with donations and fundraisers. Like Dumont, he said the site meeting was a good idea. “It was really helpful,” he said, clarifying “what we wanted to do.” The public works crew and Farrar were also “extremely helpful,” he said.

With Deveau absent, the two other board members, Chairman David Swain and Dumont, voted in favor of the motion, allowing the DPW to take action based on the list.

In other business, the selectmen appointed Jason Strniste, of Worcester, as a full-time police officer to fill a department vacancy at the request of Police Chief J. Gregory Massak.

Sketching his resume, Massak said Strniste is a graduate of the Reserve Police Academy and recently graduated from the Full Time Police Academy, both in Boylston. He worked for the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency from 2008 to 2010.

Currently a reserve police officer in Charlton and Brimfield, Strniste was on duty during the aftermath of the devastating tornado that hit Brimfield last year.

The board also appointed Ashleigh Stanton, of Squannacook Road, as a new part-time EMT at the request of Ambulance Director Dwight “Mike” Detillion. With the new addition, the emergency squad stands at 22, he said, including full-time firefighters.