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New officers will return DARE, RAD to Shirley schools

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SHIRLEY — Selectmen on Monday night appointed three new full-time police officers, selecting from a pool of five candidates interviewed two weeks ago and based on Police Chief Thomas Goulden’s recommendations.

All the applicants were already serving as part-time reserve officers in town when they were interviewed, with two full-time openings. But there were three positions to fill this week after another resignation.

The new hires are William McGuinness of Shirley, Joseph Santiago of Boston and Sarah Brodmerkle of Lunenburg. All three will make “outstanding officers,” selectmen Vice Chairman David Swain said.

Chairman Robert Prescott agreed, noting the “strong candidate pool” from which the board had to choose.

Selectman Kendra Dumont said she is pleased that two of the new police officers, McGuinness and Brodmerkle, would bring the DARE and RAD programs back to the schools. She was impressed with Santiago’s community spirit, too.

Selectmen also appointed Sheryl Wright as interim town accountant to fill the position temporarily until a permanent replacement can be found for Bobbi Jo Colburn, who recently resigned.

“She will be missed,” Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said.

But having Wright on the job, even for a little while, is good news, Garvin added, noting her strong résumé and experience in the accounting departments of several communities.

Selectmen also agreed to Garvin’s suggestion that their executive assistant, who works 32 hours per week, fill in as a part-time office clerk in the assessors’ office, where a newly hired principal assessor is still getting up to speed in an evaluation year and has said he could use some help.

War Memorial lease

The protracted flap over who’s in charge of the War Memorial Building may finally be over, as selectmen have seemingly resolved the stickiest issues they’ve been wrangling over with the trustees.

The main questions are whether the building is, in fact, a war memorial, and which of the entities — selectmen or the trustees — should sign the lease for the long-standing rental agreement with American Legion Post 183, the town-owned building’s only tenant.

The trustees had argued that an arrangement that had worked well for more than 70 years should stand. Selectmen, on the advice of town counsel, maintained that as representatives of the town, they must sign the lease, although they did not seek to take over the responsibility that rightfully belonged with the trustees, who would work out the details with the Legion and determine rules for the building’s use.

On Monday night, Garvin said she met with trustees earlier that day and based on the two main talking points, she’s hopeful that the matter of the lease can finally be settled.

According to Garvin, town counsel said the building is truly a memorial, and Massachusetts General Laws state that the chairman of selectmen is, by right, a member of the Board of Trustees, which seems to resolve the question of who signs the lease.

They both do, with the chairman representing the board, and thus the town, while acting as a trustee.

Dumont said she’d still like to see the final lease before it’s signed, or at least have town counsel review it.

“We want to give them what they want,” Prescott said, adding, however, that it must be legal.

Selectmen unanimously voted to authorize the chairman to sign the lease.

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