By Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Selectboard met for a brief meeting on December 9 to discuss new COVID circumstances.
Town Administrator Julie Hebert reported that Acushnet has had 55 cases in the month of December to date, and on 12/9 alone had 34 new cases.
Ms. Hebert stated asked the Selectboard to enact the “remote access plan” as they had in March. She said the Town has laptops for all employees to tele-work from home. She said there would be no more than one person per office in the building, and others would be working from home. Ms. Hebert stated the new restrictions would start December 14, 2020 through the holidays until January 11, 2021 and they could then reevaluate at that time.
Ms. Hebert also stated that two staff had recently tested positive, resulting in six staff being quarantined. Ms. Hebert told the board her concern was having whole department being shut down because of quarantining.
“Tele-working is a temporary measure to help us get through the holidays safely for our staff and residents,” she said.
Selectboard Chairperson Kevin Gaspar stated he has been following COVID since day one and really trying to navigate the town through the process. He said he is aware that Bristol County has seen a recent jump in cases and wants to do what the board believes is best for the employees and Acushnet residents.
“I don’t like it but we do have a good action plan in place,” said Mr. Gaspar.
Board member David Desroches was also in favor of the tele-working as he stated it would definitely get them through the “holiday surge.”
Selectboard member David Wojnar agreed with the plan and also asked Ms. Hebert to get a plan in place with the Department of Public Works and perhaps police personnel for a “all hands on deck” in case of snow emergency and/or other emergencies that may arise in the next few months.
“I just want to make sure if people are sick and need transportation out that we have enough snow plow removals if we have a lot of snow,” said Mr. Wojnar. “I just want to be pro-active with a plan.”
Ms. Hebert stated she has been in discussions with DPW and it will be an “all hands on deck” plan.
The Selectboard also met with Police Chief Christopher Richmond to discuss the hiring of two full-time police officers.
Chief Richmond told the board it was the step in a process that began back in August. He said he was recommending Officer Nathaniel Turgeon, who has the part time Police Academy behind him and has been a part-time officer since March.
The Chief also recommended the appointment of Dominick Sullivan Sousa, who will be attending the police academy in January, as a full-time police officer. The Selectboard agreed to the appointment of both officers and welcomed them on board.
The board also discussed an appropriate swearing in ceremony for Mr. Turgeon, and Chief Richmond will be making those arrangements in the next week or so.
Ms. Hebert suggested working with Cable and having the ceremony recorded and put up on-line as well for the community.
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