Selectmen's Notebook: Board Will Make No Recommendation On Charter
Chopsticks gains board approval for liquor license.
Residents waiting to hear the official recommendation of the Board of Selectmen relative to the proposed changes to the Town Charter are going to be disappointed.
The board voted unanimously at its April 24 meeting to forward the article voters at the May 8 Special Town Meeting without a recommendation.
The Special Act Charter Committee has put forth an article that would make multiple major changes to the Town Charter. Most notably, Open Town Meeting would be replaced by a Town Council form of government.
The board has been split on the issue of the charter recommendations for several months. Scott Wilson, who also serves as chairman of the SACC, has been the board's most vocal supporter of the proposal. New Board Chairman David Gay has been the most vocal opponent. Todd Johnson, who has leaned in favor of the proposal, said Tuesday night that he would vote against the proposal at the Special Town Meeting.
"I personally feel that it's inevitable that we will eventually evolve into a council forma of government," said Johnson, but he admitted that most people in the town want to maintain Open Town Meeting. Johnson pointed out that not a single elected board had come out in support of the proposal.
"For a major change of any kind, all stakeholders need to be behind it before town meeting," he said.
In related news, the board voted to recommend to Special Town Meeting voters that Town Counsel Charles Zaroulis temporarily replace Town Moderator Keith Rauseo for the Town Charter debate and vote, should it be determined that Rauseo cannot officiate due to possible conflict of interest.
In other business:
- Selectmen voted in favor of granting a full liquor license to Chopsticks. The take-out oriental restaurant, located on Andover Street, is planning to expand its operations greatly when it moves into the much larger space next door to its current location.
- Drew Vernalia, new director of the Tewksbury Housing Authority, was approved as a new member of the Community Preservation Committee.
- The board agreed to send a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on behalf of Ocean State Job Lot. The discount store is requesting that a traffic light be put in on Route 38 a the entrance to their parking lot and they have agreed to pay for the entire installation.
- The board approved changes to the town's health insurance plan, as recommended by Town Manager Richard Montuori. As of July 1, no elected official working less than 20 hours a week will be eligible to participate in the town's health insurance, dental or life insurance plans. More details on this program in an upcoming Tewksbury Patch article.
- The board officially approved the 2012 Memorial Day Parade.