Tewksbury Selectman Wants To See Appointment Process Strengthened
Johnson proposes interviewing candidates for appointed boards more often and strengthening the ethics and open meeting training process.
If a proposal by Todd Johnson is adopted, the days of the Board of Selectmen rubber-stamping appointments to municipal committees will be over.
Johnson, who is in his sixth year as a selectman, has suggested board begin to more frequently conduct interviews with candidates seeking appointments to various town committees. This would include sitting committee members seeking re-appointment.
According to Johnson, this would help to ensure the knowledge and qualifications of the candidate and would be a significant step toward all aspects of town government operating in a more transparent, professional manner.
"I believe that in the past, the board had conducted interviews for these positions but (the board has) gone away from that in recent years," said Johnson. "This has been something I've been thinking about for the past few years. There are times when it's good to have (candidates) come in and kick the tires a little bit."
Presently, the Board of Selectmen has the authority to interview candidates for appointed committees, as they did recently with two candidates (including a sitting member) for a seat on the Conservation Commission. However, Johnson would like to see the process formalized and become a part of board policy.
Johnson has promised to present a formal motion to that effect a the board's next meeting, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 11.
When Johnson broached the subject of interviews at the board's Aug. 14 meeting, it was met with support by board members Ann-Marie Stronach, Doug Sears and David Gay. Selectman Scott Wilson was not in attendance.
"It's good to have competition but what happens when you only have one person up for re-appointment and you realize they're not very good at (the job)?" Sears mused.
The board also instructed Town Manager Richard Montuori, Town Counsel Charles Zaroulis and Town Clerk Denise Graffeo to examine the procedures in place for training all elected and appointed board and committee members in the areas of ethics, conflict of interest and open meeting laws.
Johnson said he would like to see the training strengthened and become standard practice.
"I'd like to see it become mandatory," said Johnson.