By Jean Perry, Neighb News Correspondent
Fairhaven Selectboard Chairperson Daniel Freitas’s absence from the board’s 11/16 meeting led to the tabling of a slew of discussion and action items and Vice-Chairperson Bob Espindola struggling to find productive ways to pass the time in between scheduled public hearings.
Mr. Espindola and Selectboard member Keith Silvia both appointed their chosen members of the public to the seven-member town administrator search committee: former Selectboard member Brian Bowcock for Mr. Silvia, and Northeast Maritime Institute President Eric Dawicki for Mr. Espindola. However, they held off on appointing a town employee to complete the committee until Mr. Freitas could participate.
The board held a special meeting last Tuesday, 11/10 after Mr. Freitas abruptly walked out of the 11/2 meeting during a discussion involving the town administrator hiring process. On 11/10, Mr. Freitas motioned to appoint himself to the search committee instead of a citizen at-large, which Mr. Silvia seconded and Mr. Espindola opposed.
The other three members appointed to the search committee are Finance Committee member Bernard “Bernie” Roderick, School Committee member Colin Veitch, and Planning Board Chairperson John Farrell.
That means at least six men will sit on the seven-member committee.
An executive session is already scheduled for Thursday, 11/19 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss two litigation case. The agenda will be revised to include an open session to make the final search committee appointment and take up the list of other items that were tabled that night in Mr. Freitas’s absence. Those items include setting schedules for 2021 Selectboard meetings; discussing the fiscal year 2022 budget/town meeting calendar; considering changes to the Wellness Committee mission, structure, and membership; adopting a policy on whether to make Selectboard meeting agenda packets available to the public; and reviewing proposed updates to policies and procedures in the Personnel Bylaw.
Town Administrator Mark Rees said that a public hearing for proposed changes to the Personnel Bylaw would be on 11/30. The Selectboard will vote to approve those changes during its regularly scheduled meeting on 12/7.
In other matters, Mr. Rees announced the receipt of $406,000 through The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act during the program’s round two of COVID-19 reimbursement. Mr. Rees also pointed out how he and others present at the meeting are now wearing face masks in light of the recent surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fairhaven and much of the country.
The board accepted John Farrell’s resignation from the Housing Authority and approved the carryover of unspent Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Hedge Street Phase 1 project to Phase 2.
The public hearing for a farmer’s series pourer license was continued without a set date “until such time that the necessary information is provided” by the applicant, Fairhaven Meadows. LLC, doing business as Nasketucket Bay Vineyards.
The board approved the transfer and pledge of a restaurant/all alcohol license from Cathy and Ken Melanson to JEJM Corp, doing business as Traveler’s Ale House. The establishment at 111 Huttleston Avenue reacquired the liquor license when the Melansons purchased it after the Department of Revenue took possession of it from the owner of the defunct Cleary’s Pub, Drew Tillet, in lieu of unpaid taxes. The Melansons will maintain ownership of the liquor license but have pledged it to Ming Heui.
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