By Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Selectboard met on Tuesday, 7/21, with a continuation of a discussion that started nearly a year and a half ago regarding the Town Hall’s office hours.
Chairperson Kevin Gaspar stated that the hours are currently a long day on Tuesday, until 7 p.m.; and Fridays the Town Hall closes at noon. He said that it has been in effect for awhile now, but he was always under the impression it was a “trial” and it was time for a discussion to take place to possibly end the trial.
“I’ve always thought it wasn’t good for business, but to benefit the employees. I gave it the whatever thing, because it wasn’t worth the argument,” said Mr. Gaspar. “We said we’d trial it for a year, and we need to revisit that trial.”
Board member David Desroches said he thought they could continue to try it for another twelve months. He thought that people, both the community and employees were getting used to the hours, but he had no preference. As far as he knew, he said, they were not receiving any complaints about the hours.
Board member David Wojnar stated that however and whatever is going to service the residents/ taxpayers is how he would consider the hours.
He asked that the same group of employees that were going to discuss how to re-open the Town Hall to the public also be tasked to give their opinion on this discussion.
“Let’s hear from them, how they feel the hours have worked to service the community,” Mr. Wojnar said.
Mr. Gaspar stated he has received numerous complaints on Fridays being closed at noon. He said he is not in the mindset that this is a good idea to continue.
Mr. Wojnar stated he would like to have the full picture of how they are going to move forward in opening Town Hall doors to the public with this element included before he decided one way or the other.
“I’ll just say this now because I don’t care how many people want to come and beat me over the head with a baseball bat,” said Mr. Gaspar, and said that COVID 19 has proven that the Town Hall does not need these hours to exist, as the Town is going on four months of being closed.
“I don’t think this is a benefit to the public,” he said.“The employees, sure it is, who wouldn’t want to have a half a day on Fridays?”
Mr. Desroches commented that he saw the Town of Fairhaven opened and then closed for a day and now they were closed for a week due to someone contracting COVID19.
“It’s certainly a very frustrating time, Mr. Gaspar,” said Mr. Desroches.
“I just don’t think our ultimate goal is to just satisfy employees,” Mr. Gaspar said. “I think we need to consider all factors.”
He added that he was against it, but he would let the board decide as a whole.
“If my fellow Selectboard members want to keep it, then so be it,” Mr. Gaspar said. “It is what it is, right? I don’t believe it benefits the public much at all. But whatever.”
In other business, the Selectboard appointed newly hired Board of Health part-time health agent, Pat Hannon as the Soil Removal Officer.
Mr. Wojnar also asked for future meetings to include hearing from the Golf Committee as well as DPW Superindent Dan Menard, and Planning Board Director Henry Young on what they are working on.
Mr. Wojnar stated it would be nice to hear from them every few months to keep the Selectboard included in what his happening in their departments. Mr. Gaspar and Mr. Desroches agreed.
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