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 to forward the article voters at the May 8 Special Town Meeting without a recommendation.

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. . 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 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.



Bee Free April 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM
that light seems too close to the astle/pike/main st. light already in place it could help space out the traffic so others can take a left out of other businesses on that side of the road. there is no other benefit than ocean state however. what happens on hours the store is not open? tewks should not have to pay for a traffic study for this
kck April 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
The notes indicate that Ocean State Job Lot has agreed to pay for the entire installation. Does that include any traffic studies?
Bill Gilman (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM
@kck I believe it does. Although they may already have done a traffic study before opening the store ... not sure about that.
Shaun April 26, 2012 at 01:42 PM
It will be nice being able to get out of that parking lot and probably help traffic to and from Golds as well, but it is pretty close to the Pike St lights considering it's a 45mph area. I wonder if that would have to change for safety reasons as well.
malcolm nichols April 26, 2012 at 08:44 PM
It is not the Selectmen job to recommend either way on the proposed Charter Changes, they are residends of the town and may vote like any other resident; however, they must not and may not use their position as selectmen to politic. The need for traffic mitigation at the Heartland/Ocean State Lot exit/entrance to Rt 38 predated the movein of Ocean State and clearly should have been foreseen by the the lessee and lessor. Now is not the time to be having these discussions. I hate traffic signals and do not want any more signals in Tewksbury. If we are not careful we will end up like Lowell and Wilmington.
Bill Gilman (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Malcolm ... it is tradition for the Board of Selectmen to make a recommendation for or against most Town Meeting Warrant Articles. Some articles, such as zoning bylaws, they defer to the another board for a recommendation. So it is out of the ordinary, though not unprecedented, for the board to present an article without a recommendation.
malcolm nichols April 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Bill, The selectmen can facilitate and present the facts; however, they must not recommend on issues as "selectmen", only as residents. They may not use their office or there may be bigger issues.


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