By Jean Perry, Neighb News Correspondent
The search for the next Fairhaven town administrator is officially on now that the selectboard chose Community Paradigm Associates, LLC as the search consultant at the 10/5/20 Selectboard meeting.
Bernie Lynch, a municipal employee recruiter, will assist the town in soliciting interest in the position and then help narrow the field of candidates according to the town’s specific qualifications and desired experience. An appointed screening committee will then review those candidates and recommend a number of finalists for the Selectboard to hold final interviews and vote to appoint.
Mr. Lynch recommended that the board work fast to appoint the screening committee of no more than seven members, and suggested that individual board members and department heads spend the next three weeks meeting with the firm to define an ideal set of qualifications and experience for the position and complete the hiring process according to a tight timeline.
Town Administrator Mark Rees is set to leave in January 2021.
The board could potentially select from a set of finalists come the start of January 2021 and, said Mr. Lynch, depending on the hire’s 30 to 60-day notice period to his or her employer, be on the job by early February.
In another matter, the board met with Kevin McLaughlin from Fairhaven Shipyard Corporation about a proposed floating dock that Mr. McLaughlin says the town has consistently opposed throughout a years-long conversation.
Mr. McLaughlin said the goal is to construct a floating dock to give the Buzzards Bay Rowing Club access to the water, but that the town has “stonewalled” progress and rejected a request to issue a license to allow it to be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Mr. Rees stated that the town has not been opposed to the pier as suggested by Mr. McLaughlin, and that he has offered several proposals to the shipyard, which Mr. Rees said Mr. McLaughlin has rejected.
The sticking point is the legal ownership of the bulkhead that Town Counsel Thomas Crotty said still belongs to the Town of Fairhaven as stated in the deed of the property that the Town sold to the Casey Boat Building Company in 1943. Mr. Crotty stated that the town is not opposed to the pier, rather the town opposes Mr. McLaughlin’s claim of ownership to the basin, also known as the lobster basin.
Mr. McLaughlin stated that he does not want to assert ownership over the point of access, and all he wants is to build the dock for the rowing club and for the town to stop opposing the pier. The matter was scheduled for a hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals the following evening, and the board agreed with Mr. McLaughlin that it would offer up language to grant him a license, including wording about the town’s ownership rights at the site.
The board also addressed an Open Meeting law complaint pertaining to not having accepted meeting minutes within the Attorney General’s timeframe of 30 days or by the third subsequent meeting. Mr. Rees recommended that the board respond to the complaint by acknowledging that it was not in compliance, but add in some wording about “how we were very busy with a lot of other activities, but that we would make every effort to comply moving forward,” said Mr. Rees.
Board member Bob Espindola suggested the board consider a method of tracking minutes that need approval. Mr. Rees said town counsel’s idea was to routinely list on the agenda the dates of meeting minutes pending approval.
The board as held a public hearing for Fairhaven Meadows, LLC – Nantucket Bay Vineyard for a farmer series pouring permit to allow vineyard owner Nicholas Christy to hold wine tastings at the agricultural property for a fee. The board closed the hearing and will wait until the next meeting before rendering a decision in light of some other possible Planning Board permissions Mr. Christy might require before moving forward with his proposed service.
An abutter, Craig Soares, questioned Mr. Christy’s right to build various structures without permits or without having to notify him as an abutter. Mr. Christy told him that all the structures had been permitted by the town and that none of them required any variances of special permits. He did agree to meet with Mr. Soares and his wife to discuss all of his concerns and also address a complaint about another abutter’s property being flooded with runoff from Mr. Christy’s farm.
The board will take a vote on the farmer series pouring permit during its next meeting.
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