Select Board July 11, 2023
Updated about 20 hours ago
Select Board July 11, 2023
Synchronize Video and Captions
Looks like we are all here. All right,
So Megan, should I call
us to order again? Okay.
So good evening everyone,
and welcome to the July 11th,
2023 meeting of the Wellesley
This meeting may be viewed
by a live stream on Wellesley
media.org and viewed on
Comcast Channel eight
and Verizon Channel 40.
This is a Zoom meeting with the following
members of the Wellesley Select Board
present and participating remotely.
And Mara Lonza, Tom Felder,
Beth Sullivan Woods, Colette, o'
Frank, and myself, Lisa Olney.
So welcome everybody. Do we have
anyone for citizen speak? Megan?
We do not have anyone on the line
for citizen speak. Okay, awesome.
Everybody's outta town probably. Okay.
So the first item is
executive directors update.
I'll just say quickly
before Megan starts that,
I'm just gonna note for the board that
we're gonna be voting on the minutes at
our next regular meeting.
There were a number of substantive
changes proposed to the previous draft,
and just from a process standpoint,
we're gonna reissue the original draft
and any substantive changes should be
proposed at our next meeting as
amendments so that they can be clearly
considered by the board. So, Megan,
do you wanna proceed?
Sure. I had a couple announcements that
I wanted to make and then we just have
a gift to accept. So with
regards to announcements one,
this Saturday, July 15th
from nine 30 to four 30,
be the wildest Grand Merchant
Association's July jubilation.
And so the road on Central Street
will be closed during those that time.
Lots of activities and events, we
encourage everyone to check it out. Also,
the Charles River Watershed Association
will be hosting a walking tour along
Fuller Brook, and as part of that,
you can contact or, or
join that it's at 10:00 AM
and they'll go through the,
how it recently restored the
tributary to the Charles River.
And then just a brief announcement from
Health Department of Communications
with our health director Lenny Zo, with
the amount of rain and heat we've had,
we just want to let people know that
comes about discussing mosquitoes that
our d pws out currently treating
our catch patients with Larvicide.
Timing of this treatment will give us
effective coverage at least through
August. In addition,
we want to remind residents to empty
any standing water on their property and
take personal protective measures
when outside, during dusk and dawn.
So with the amount of rain we've had,
when you have things outside buckets,
et cetera, that you forget,
just dump 'em out and that that helps
keep our mosquito population down.
So Lenny wanted me to
just relay that for folks.
And then we also had one
vote of a gift acceptance.
The Park Andry D division
received a donation of labor from
Hartney Graymont who celebrated Arbor
Day by working on the Town Station Oak.
The value of this was approximately
$5,000. So we, we think,
I actually went by the day
people were working on it,
and the Station Oak is our champion
tree right in front of the post office.
And it was pretty
substantial work that they,
they went and checked all the
cabling and did substantial pruning.
So thank you to them for that gift.
So we would just need an
acceptance of that from the board.
And well, if there are no
questions about the gift, Beth,
could we have the motion please? Sure.
Move to approve the gift from Hartney
Graymont of services that included
and checking the cabling of the Town
Station Oak with an estimated value of
Second Amara. Aye.
Beth Aye. Tom. Aye.
Colette Aye. And I vote Aye as well.
I think that's it, right, Megan?
For the, for your update? Yes.
And so next thing is we're gonna vote
on the legal services agreement for
So Dave Cohen is joining us. Dave,
do you wanna give the board just
a brief update on this litigation?
Sure thing. And and before I do
that, I, I hope you don't mind,
and if you wouldn't mind
indulging me just to make a,
a brief sat announcement to let the board
and the community know that this past
Paul de Phillips Park and Tree
assistant superintendent passed away
after a year long battle with cancer
and we're all very saddened by it.
And I just wanted to
mention that and, you know,
let Paul and his family know that, that
we're thinking of, of him and them,
and also Parks family here at Park
and Tree, who I know is really,
really thrilling from this. It's
been a, it's been a tough haul,
but Paul is finally at rest after
a, a, a, a, a really strong fight.
But he did pass away this weekend and
so wanted to just make mention of that.
So thank you for letting
me share that. Thank.
I just hope you'll convey to his
family how very sorry we are from the,
from the select board we're our
deepest sympathies to, to his family.
I will do that. Thank.
You. And to everyone, everyone at the
D P W who worked with him as well.
Appreciate that. Thank you.
And Paul would want us to get right
back to business. So, so regarding pfas,
as, as you know, since the pfas
issue emerged a couple years ago,
we've been entertaining conversations
with various law firms about getting
involved in class action
litigation related to pfas.
And over, over the past
couple years, we've,
we've been through a few presentations
and interviews with some different firms
and we've finally come
to the point where we,
we are recommending to move forward
with SL Environmental Law Group and
And so we have an agreement
for the board to consider that
have this law firm and their
related firms represent Wellesley
in any potential class action,
legal action or civil actions that
might take place related to pfas.
And we would be joining more
than a dozen Massachusetts
We'd be joining the state of Massachusetts
among others and over a hundred other
jurisdictions in, in the United
States that have jumped on with,
with this particular law
group. And we've done some,
some outreach and some reference
checking and, and feel,
feel good about entering into an
agreement with, with this group.
So we recommend favorable action from the,
from the select board on this and happy
to have any questions that you might
Thank you, Dave.
So I'll just mention for the benefit of
the public that we did have a discussion
of this in executive session,
so a lot of the board's
questions I think were answered,
but if anyone has anything
additional they'd like to say,
now would be a good time. Okay.
Thank you so much Dave.
We really appreciate your pursuing
this on behalf of the town.
It's a matter of great
concern to everyone and
really glad that you're on top of this.
Lisa, Lisa, if you don't mind,
maybe it's also good to also
maybe set expectations
with folks that, you know,
people might be hearing reports
about lots of money that, that,
that might be out there. And, and I,
I think we wanna be conservative
about our expectations here, that,
that this is a low risk
but potentially low reward.
But we wanna make sure that if there are
any settlements that we don't miss out
on those opportunities.
But there may not be millions of
dollars coming our way on this,
but whatever it is, we want to take
advantage of that. And so this is,
this will protect our
interests in the event that,
that any dollars do become available.
Absolutely. Thank you. Okay. If,
if the board has no further comments,
we'll I'll ask for a motion please. Beth.
Move to approve the legal
services agreement for the pfas
action litigation and to authorize
executive director Megan job to sign on
behalf of the town.
Second Beth Aye. Tom Aye.
Colette Aye. And Mara Aye.
And I vote Aye as well.
Thank you very much, Dave.
Thank you all. Have a great night.
So we are going to move on to the
interview and vote of the interim fire
Thanks Lisa. So with us
tonight, in addition to the
candidates is Brian Duggan,
the town's consultant from
Municipal Resources Inc.
To assist the board with this
process. And in addition is Chief pki.
Chief PKI has been assisting me
through this process for both the
interim chief search as well as
our PR initial fire chief search,
which has led us here today. So with
that, it would be my expectation,
I'm gonna turn it over to Brian to give
an introduction and then the board has a
series of questions.
I think we'll after Brian's introduction
we'll turn it back to Lisa to,
to start off the questions and then
we can, we can take it from there.
Okay. Thank you Megan.
Can everyone hear me okay?
Thank you. So again, as Megan said,
w we've sort of navigated
a path through a search and
recruited and interviewed two candidates
that are gonna come before the board
tonight as potential interim fire chiefs.
The first candidate is with
us. Ready? Todd Germaine.
So Todd, if you can hear me, why don't
you turn your mic on and your video
and we'll introduce him. So everybody.
Todd comes to us from
Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
where he served three years as
fire chief and emergency manager.
And in addition to that, he served
eight years as Shift Commander.
Prior to coming to you tonight,
Todd has interviewed with us and
with Megan and the chief on two
occasions, once with us and
once with our entire team,
including Megan and the chief and
was vetted through that process.
So he survived us. So we're, we're
hoping he can survive you as well.
Todd is actually traveling.
Todd, you're in London, correct?
So he is calling in quite
remotely and with that I'm sure
he'll say much more about his career
history as we go through things.
So I'll turn it over to the chair and
then we'll follow up with questions
Great. Thank you Brian. And thank you
Chief lucky for being here as well.
So what we thought we'd do is
have the board members go around
sort of picking your top priority
questions from that great list that
we got from Brian of suggested questions.
And then if you have a follow-up question,
you could go ahead with
that and then we'll move on.
And then if we still have
time, hopefully we will,
Megan can go through the
remaining questions to the,
to the extent that we're able,
just a reminder that we'll be asking
both candidates the same questions.
So, so I will just start us off.
There were so many great questions
here. I, it was hard to choose, but I,
I'd really be grateful to hear Todd,
about your management style and how
you would approach the need for change
within the Wellesley fire department.
Sure. First of all, hello to everybody
and thanks for the opportunity to,
to be here tonight. As far as
my, my management style, I'm,
I'm very much a democratic type
of manager. I seek collaboration,
I seek input from,
from all stakeholders to the best
that I can. I've had a, a pretty,
pretty successful career both in, in as a,
as a firefighter and,
and a shift commander in my roles as union
executives as well as on this side of
the desk as a manager to be able to
facilitate communication and
collaboration between, you know,
particularly labor and management. And
that's, that's pretty much probably my,
my biggest strength and what I bring,
I think to the table in this situation.
As far as, as affecting change,
I'm not deeply familiar with the,
with the issues within the
Wellesley Fire Department,
just sort of on the surface. Obviously
there are some leading us to, you know,
the conversation tonight. But
as we figure out what those are,
I think I have an ability to, to bring
all sides to the table, so to speak,
and, and, and find some,
some common ground as far as
affecting change. Again, you know, it,
it starts at the top obviously,
but you gotta get the
middle management involved.
You gotta get the middle
management convinced that
the changes for the better of
them and the whole department.
And I think, you know,
that's for me the best place to
start. And, and also, you know,
from what I understand,
there's a good opportunity now cause
there's a lot of younger firefighters,
a lot of younger generation
coming through and they,
and they're almost the
majority. So I think, you know,
the more you can get that group of
people involved and and acceptable the
change, the, the easier
that change or the quicker,
at least that change may come. So.
Great. Well, thank you. So just to
make sure I heard you correctly,
you were saying your biggest strength
was essentially bringing all sides to the
table. Is that kind of.
Yeah, I've had very good luck
facilitating that communication with,
you know, with the department I I
worked in, there were two labor unions,
one for the firefighters and
one for the fire officers.
And then of course you
have the management.
And even prior to being
a chief in my role as,
as leaders of, of those
labor unions, I, I made a,
a concerted effort to,
to make sure that those lines of
communication from that side to the
management, you know, was always
open and, and and facilitated.
And then of course when I get on
this on the other side of the desk,
I carried through with that as well
to make sure that those lines of
communication were always
there. And I think, you know,
when you get all the stakeholders together
and you get 'em all sort of looking
in the, in the right direction,
in the same direction and that's when
things can positively change and you can
actually make a difference.
Awesome. Thank you very much.
So can I see hands for
who'd like to go next? Beth?
Great. Nice to meet you Mr. Ger. Hi.
Beth, nice to meet you.
So you are coming from
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, right?
Which is correct, a little
bit bigger of a department,
Little bit, not, not too much
bigger but a little bit bigger.
One additional station and
a few more people per shift.
So I'm wondering what are the differences
that you see between your most
recent position and the position of
interim chief in the town of Wellesley?
Well, I mean, the difference would be
in, in my position in Portsmouth, I,
you know, came up through the ranks.
I was intimately familiar with the,
with the department for,
you know, 30 years and,
and when became the chief, you know,
I had all that internal knowledge,
I had all that institutional
knowledge and history.
So obviously that would be a difference
coming to Wellesley. And also I think,
you know, from what I
understand there would be a,
a series of goals and objectives
as, as, as prescribed by,
I guess probably Megan and, and and
the board to find, you know, to,
to achieve or to, to accomplish
in the time that I'm there.
So I think it would be more
short term planning and goal.
Not that I wouldn't try to,
to facilitate and try to try to move
along some longer term, you know,
goals and management while
you're there. Cause you don't,
you don't want someone in there for a
year just to think about that one year.
You still have to, as the fire
chief, you still have to plan ahead.
You still have to be looking,
you know, at the horizon to,
to make sure that things are moving
forward in 2, 3, 5, 8 years. So, I mean,
you know, as, as the chief
in Portsmouth, you know,
that was sort of my focus vision
was that further, you know,
outlook and we're here, I think I would
have to concentrate as much, you know,
on the shorter term of those goals
and objectives, but also, you know,
making sure the department moves
forward in a, you know, in a,
in a futuristic situ, you know, futuristic
look as well. If that makes sense.
Sorry, it's, it's almost
midnight here, so.
It's okay. So Lisa, did you
wanna follow up now or wait? Yes,
so now would be good. Okay.
So I guess my follow up question
is what is it about this
position that has caused you to
apply for it and be interested?
To be honest, I was asked if I
would be interested in in, in,
in doing an interim stint
here by the folks from mri.
And honestly, I, I, you know,
I've been just about nine
months out from retirement,
my wife and I did a lot of traveling
over the winter and we're sort of,
you know, in a, a little bit
of a limbo state right now.
So it actually worked out
pretty nicely, you know,
the offer that when it came through.
So I mean, we're, you know, if we,
if it happens that, that I get
the position we'll be, you know,
looking for a place, you know, right
away down in that area to, to be,
to move to for the time
that I'm there. So that's,
that's really what got me interested.
And to be, I'll be honest, I I,
I miss, you know,
I miss I missed it a little bit and
in having these interviews with,
with I and, and with Megan and, and Chief
Eck, you know, getting back into the,
the thought of, of all this again,
it's kinda exciting. So I'm,
I'm looking forward to follow
through with it if possible.
Great. Thank you so much.
And Mara, thank you. And Todd,
thank you so much for taking the time
to meet with us today. You're welcome.
So Lisa stole my question, so I
have a different question. So how,
I guess how do you communicate with,
involve and motivate your staff and
preserve the command structure within the
And I think it would be helpful to
maybe if you had like maybe a specific
example of a situation
that you had to deal
with and how you worked
through it and were able
how you were able to use
your communication skills to
work through the situation
and at the end of the day, dealing
with the difficult situation,
still have a staff that was
motivated and ready to Sure.
It's, I'm trying to, it's a lengthy one,
but I'll try to trim it down for, for,
for brevity here.
We had a situation where we had
a promotion to make for, for a,
a lieutenant and there were only two
people left on the promotion list.
Policy dictated that I recommend to
our board of fire commissioners, one,
at least one person for the position.
And in my estimation and the
estimation of my shift commanders and
some outside references that neither
of these of these individuals should be
promoted for, for lack of a better
way to put it, for reasons of safety.
And, and so being responsible for
everyone in the department and,
and having the final say, at least
in my opinion, I had the final say.
I chose not to positively
recommend either one of them,
but before I did that I brought each
of them in, discussed, you know,
the issues that I had and the, the ship
commanders had with them and, you know,
face-to-face with, you know, and said
right up front, this is, you know,
this is what I'm not going
to do and what I'm gonna do.
I brought their union presidents in and
told 'em the same thing and, you know,
the reasons that I was going
to do so, and you know, I,
I offered them sort of a
threw of a way out of it.
They chose not to take it, they
chose to instead file a grievance,
went to a lengthy arbitration
over a year. But, you know,
the whole, the whole time we had open
communications, but I wasn't trying to,
to subvert anybody. I wasn't
trying to go around anybody or,
or didn't do anything behind his
back or, or anything like that.
I wanted to make sure that they
were upfront as to why one of the,
the individuals actually took, you know,
the advice that we gave him and pretty
much turned himself around and to the
point now he's actually sitting as the
next person to be promoted up there from
what I understand. And then the other
person went the other way and, and,
and oftentimes and repeatedly
seems to prove, you know,
that we did, we made the right
decision, I think. But anyway,
and in the end, we, we won the ar
the city won the arbitration. They,
they sided with, with myself, you know,
making the right decision or had having
the ability to make that decision.
And you know, when it was all over,
it was shortly before I retired and one
month after the arbitration case came
through, both unions voted to,
to make me honorary lifetime
members of their union.
So I'm not sure how to take that,
but seemed to work out on my end. So,
but that, if that's a, if that's
an example as to what I could,
how I communicated, if,
if that helps. Yeah.
No, that's a great example. Thank you.
And so it sounds like in that case you
ended up with an employee who maybe was
not very motivated and was maybe
a little unhappy for that year.
Was that a challenge that you had to
deal with or is that something that was
dealt with, you know, lower
down the chain of command?
It was dealt with more of
the lower chain of command.
This person was a bit of
an outlier. So I don't,
I don't know as if it really, it didn't
really spread throughout the department,
but you know, the other
person who, you know,
really just sort of turned around and,
and became more involved and, you know,
that that's that motivation, I
mean, flipped him around, you know,
and I think he,
he was pretty upfront about not realizing
that those were the reasons that were
holding him up. And when he
did realize it, you know,
he did the right thing and, and
he took and he took off with it.
The other person unfortunately
dug their heels in. But again,
it didn't really affect anyone because
everyone else in the department saw the
same thing that we did. So.
Okay. Well thank you so much.
Thank you. And thank you for joining us,
given the hour. We've had this experience
with another member of our board too,
and it's not,
not easy and basically in a situation
like this where you're interviewing,
so we really appreciate it. The,
the whole concept of an interim chief,
I think has been interesting and seems
to have grown organically out of our
work with M R I and an evaluation of their
sense along with our
management team and chief pki
about where the department
needs to go as a result in the
recommendation for a 12 month term.
I think it puts a lot of
pressure on organization and goal
orientation in terms of what
needs to be accomplished.
So how would you work with the M R I
team to determine progress on goals
and objectives and support an
officer development program?
So from what I understand, again,
there'll be goals and objectives and,
and I think if it's not the plan,
I would suggest the plan to be
that we meet, if not, you know,
monthly or quarterly to find out where
we are at with those objectives with,
with MRI and probably with
Megan to find out, you know,
to see where it is we're at, see how
the, you know, how the progress is,
is moving along. You know,
really the first few months is gonna be
me getting to know them and them getting
to know me. To your
earlier point, you know,
I'm not really familiar with
interim, an interim position.
This is is a new thing for me.
It doesn't really happen much,
it doesn't seem to have happened
much anyway in New Hampshire.
I I actually know a couple of chiefs
that have done it and spoken with them
briefly as to, you know,
process and so on. But
I, I think that's, I think
that's the plan is to,
is to just be in constant contact. And
I think I would be in a a, you know,
a weekly or, or more than a few times
a week communication with Megan,
at least to begin with, to make
sure that, you know, we're,
we're headed in the right direction,
that we're heading in
the right direction and,
and her eyes and in the eyes of the
board for sure. You know, I think,
you know, my goal is gonna
be to, to find or, or to,
I think from what I understand, there's,
there's internal candidates that are
capable of taking this position if given,
you know, the opportunity to do so or
perhaps you know, the right direction.
And, you know, in my, in my years
in the fire service, you know, I,
I I believe that these, these le the
leadership should come from within.
I think it, I think it's best for the
organization that, you know, that,
that the leadership comes from within
and moves their way up through.
So as far as I'm concerned,
my position here is,
is gonna be to foster that and
to, to, to make that happen.
To find that person or,
or that person's already identified
and bring them along up through.
I think that internal knowledge and
that internal rise up through the
ranks is what's best for the
organization as a whole in the end.
Thank you. Welcome.
I think it's left to me the,
the Scottish member of the board who
has been in your position before.
So I appreciate your, the middle
of the night in my hometown.
It, it's okay.
It's so easy to stay up here cause it
doesn't get dark till like 10 30, so.
It does not, yeah, just try it
in the middle of winter though,
when it's dark at three
in the afternoon. Yeah.
No, no, I'm not gonna do that.
Well, thank you for your time today
and I appreciate your answers already.
Some of my top questions
have already been selected,
so I would like to ask
you to talk maybe about a
deeper dive into your 90 day plan and
what are some specific projects that
you would like to collaborate with your
staff to bring positive change
to the Wellesley Fire Department?
What are two top two examples of something
you might focus on in the initial 90
Sure. Well, in addition to, you know,
getting my bearings in Wellesley
and within the department,
certainly I would, you know, in the
first week to 10 days, week to two weeks,
I would want to meet with the
command staff, my command staff.
It was immediately below the
chief. And then with the,
the senior staff as far
as the shift commanders,
the deputies meet with the
union presidents or president,
I'm not sure how many unions
have there meet with, you know,
the union leadership and get everybody
sort of at least face to face and,
and try to, and try to get everyone on
the same page to see which way, you know,
which way we're gonna go from
there. I think, you know,
as far as as things we could
do in the department, you know,
a good exercise,
which would be a good exercise
for potential leaders in
the department as well as good
for the department is, you know,
put together a a five-year plan
if one doesn't exist already,
which can be good not only, you
know, in the, in the short term for,
for the purposes that of the interim
situation in the development of,
of leadership, but also in the long
term. You know, it can be used, you know,
in years to come for planning and
budgeting and so on, you know,
that would help any department. And
there's also there, there, you know,
we've done self assessments before in
our departments before where, you know,
you sort of just gather all the, all the
data and all the facts, you know, and,
and put 'em into one document that sort
of is a sort of a snapshot of where
you're at now, where you
have been and you know,
where we look to go in the
future in addition to, you know,
that would be separate from like
a five year, you know, planning,
planning document outside of that. Or
it could be a 10 year planning document,
what what have you. But
I just think, you know,
I was thinking that earlier that that
would be a good exercise or something to
do again for, you know, the
immediate situation that we're in,
but also would benefit something that
we could do that would also benefit the
department to have on file
anyway, you know, for the future.
Thank you. And I'm gonna use as my
follow up, I'm gonna ask you to ask,
talk a little bit more about budgeting
and what of experience you've had in
trying to, you know, evaluate
a, a department's budget,
find where there might
be gaps, like you said,
build into a five-year plan. Tell us
more about your experience with that.
Experience with budgeting. You know,
just, I, I don't, I would have to get,
I would have to sit down with,
with Megan for a couple hours
to go over town budgeting.
I'm not too familiar with,
you know, how a town,
would do that. I'm, you know,
I'm sure it's something
pick up easy enough.
But as far as my budgeting experience
with city budgets, you know,
our budget cycle started in November,
you know, or our October of, you know,
the year to, to follow up for the
July one beginning of the fiscal year.
So our budget process were pretty long.
It started with capital budget
processing. I was able to actually,
my first year as chief, I was
able to find a way to stagger our,
we had to replace two ladder
trucks within a couple of years.
I was able to evaluate one and get it to,
to a position and get it refurb to a
point where it could last long enough that
we could purchase just
one aerial truck for,
to run first do for 10 years and then
keep that other one reserved for 10 years,
save the city, you know, a couple million
dollars and spread out the cost of,
you know, having two aerial ladder truck
purchases within a couple years. So,
I mean, it seems like there's
always things we can find
in gaps there. And then,
you know, budgeting is always
looking back to find out, you know,
what you've spent before and
you know, what, what you,
what you can try to not
spend the next time.
We had around a nine and a half to
$10 million budget when I left. So,
and you know, and I think it's, if it's
no different here, I'm sure you know,
your personnel and, and the fixed
costs are up in probably the high 80%,
you know, early 90%. So, you know,
your discretionary spending and things
that you have a lot of room for is pretty
small, but, you know, anything you
can find in there is, is a savings.
And you know, certainly that's, you
know, that's what we always look forward,
you know, look, look to do
is find those savings in the,
in the places that we can,
that we have any control over.
Okay. Thank you very much. Appreciate
your approach to smoothing out costs and,
you know, appropriately budgeting
for capital items. So thank you.
Megan, do we,
so I think we have a little
more time, right? Yeah.
It should be seven 20.
The next candidate should be jumping on.
Okay. So Megan, do you wanna just go
through some of the other questions?
Sure. Hold on.
I'm just scrolling back
up to my questions.
What are some examples, Todd,
of things that you could do to make this
in intern position and intern internal
mentorship a success.
Again, without knowing a lot
of the internal, you know,
nuts and bolts of the
situation, I guess from, if I'm,
if I remember it correctly or if I get
the sense that there are candidates or
candidate internally that have, you know,
a good look at being in this position,
working just closely with,
with that person or those
people on a day-to-day basis.
It's the best of my ability or the
best of their ability depending on the
schedule and the shift. And
just, you know, to me, and,
and, and I was, I did this in
Portsmouth when I had a, a new,
I had a assistant fire chief,
my assistant fire chief retired.
I had a new one come up through who
was a shift captain at the time,
which would be a deputy in your
department. And you know, we,
we worked together on a lot of things
before that person even became the
assistant chief so that they could
seamlessly walk into that position when,
you know, the other person retired. And
that was just a matter of, you know,
if I had, like, if I had a
budget presentation to make
or if I had, you know, a,
a meeting, a commission
meeting of some kind or a or,
or a committee meeting to
invite that person along,
bring them into my office and, you know,
work on a document together or work on a
PowerPoint together just to get a sense
of, you know, this is, this is what it
is, this is what being a fire chief is.
It's, you know, it's
making this PowerPoint on,
on this budget presentation or
whatever. And or just bring,
I brought 'em in and like, listen, here's,
you know, here's our capital budget,
here's our capital outlay. You know, what,
what do you have for ideas? You know,
I don't, I don't have all the
answers. So I think, you know,
if we identify that person and bring
that, and I can do that with that person,
that's how I would like
to, to play this just,
just to be as transparent and open as
possible with this person and essentially,
you know, not get to the point,
but for lack of a better way to put
it co-chief with this person and,
and get the feel for whether they're
getting the feel for it or not, or just,
you know, I can say that, you know, if
they, if they have an idea, I'd be like,
well, yeah, I can see where that works,
but I can tell you in this
experience where it didn't work,
maybe we need to tweak it a
little bit to make it work into,
into what your idea might
be. Does that make sense?
That's great. One other
important factor is,
I know having been chief that
in a very visible location in
the imports that where the
firehouse happens to sit,
you had significant engagement
with the community. Yeah.
So even in a one year interim
position, what are some strategies or,
or ways that you would be able to engage
with the residents of the community and
involve the community?
Yeah, I mean to, to the
extent that you can and,
and I'm not sure what has already
been, you know, done there or what,
what happens now for community
engagement. But you know, there's,
there's always, you know,
social clubs or senior
citizen organizations or
you know, the schools or obviously
a good way to do it, just,
just being out there,
you know, if there's a,
if there's an event going on that
it's appropriate or, or even remotely,
appropriate to have a firetruck at
or a fire prevention person or myself
or whatever to be at, then you have
to be at those things, you know,
I mean like touch a truck
or type thing, you know,
if there's something like that going
on, you know, we should be there.
The fire department should be there. I
think, you know, and it's the matter of,
you know, getting, I I, I
was a proponent of, you know,
if if the crew wants to go out and
park the truck down on, you know,
on the downtown and go walk over
and get a coffee, coffee shop,
then they should do that because,
you know, it gets them out there.
People ask them questions maybe, you know,
they give directions to somebody
and it's a positive impact,
it's a positive experience there with
the public. I'm all for that. And in,
in the past they think, you know, in my
experience anyway, we've had, you know,
chiefs and, and leadership that, you know,
that wasn't allowed and that was
discouraged and, you know, it just,
to me it just seemed
counterintuitive to what you,
what we do and why we're
there. You're community. We're
know, reach out and ask a question or
you know, look at the truck, you know,
if a kid gets a, i, you know, get a
chance to step on a fire truck, you know,
that's a positive experience. You know,
the parents realize that. And, you know,
anytime you can get good, good face
value like that, you gotta do it.
So I mean that's, those
the kind of things that,
at least that's my philosophy
as far as that's concerned.
Great. Thanks again. If you're good,
I'll do the next two and then
swap back to you. Great. Okay.
So Todd, thinking about sort
of things that guide you,
what are three principles that would
guide you as an interim chief and
Wellesley, and why do they
stand out based on your career,
your life experience?
Well, honesty and integrity
and, and you know,
just a good work ethic. I mean, you know,
I guess I, I don't really know
how else to put that. I mean,
those are pretty obvious
things that again, you know,
be being honest with
everyone and, and, and, and,
and being able to establish
that honesty, which,
which leads to integrity in the
department. Again, you know, that's,
that's how I was a successful fire
chief in Portsmouth. And you know,
in know, well I guess, you know,
well respected as I was there was,
I was honest with everyone and, and
then I did develop that integrity and,
you know, and the work ethic is
there as well. You know, be there,
be there every day, be it
all the functions, be it the
things you need to be at,
you know, and, and, and, and keep your
face out there and, and, you know,
just get dirty beside what you have to,
you know, that's just part of the deal.
And you know, those, I guess, you know,
those are the, the principles. I mean,
you know, I grew, I grew up in, in
Northern New Hampshire, you know, and,
you know, you know, dad made
sure I worked for my dad.
Any of you out there worked for
your parents, you know, in the past.
But it's not always easy. And, you
know, one thing I learned was, you know,
if you wanted a day's pay, put in a
day's work. And I just, that's how I've,
I've lived through my career and I think,
you know, it's gotten me to where I,
where I was or, you know,
hope to be again someday.
Okay, thank you.
What would be your approach to a
couple of issues? First of all,
diversity in the Wellesley Fire Department
and recruitment of new firefighters
in a sort of very quickly
changing job market.
Yeah, we hit on the, you hit
on the number one, you know,
challenge of fire departments
around the world right now is,
is recruitment and retention and, and
you know, to some extent diversity,
just, there's an article in the
globe today about, you know,
hiring people on the cape,
unable to hire fire firefighters to work
in the departments that they, you know,
or to live in the towns of the departments
they work in. And you know, that's,
that's common all over the place now,
as, as housing becomes more expensive,
you know, we, we had those
issues in Portsmouth. Again,
it's just a high rent area and you know,
we weren't paid very well at the time.
And so, you know, we really had to
just put the word out for recruitment,
you know, everywhere. Not just in the
local papers or in the local, you know,
trade magazine or whatever. You
had to put it out everywhere.
You had to bring everybody in and gotta
the point where cold called people.
And you know, also part of that is,
you know, to improve diversity was to,
is to get out with the
publications that target, you know,
the more diverse populations. And,
you know, I'm happy to say that in my,
in my time as the chief,
we were recognized by the state of New
Hampshire having the most gender diverse
fire department in the state by having
five female firefighters, you know, by,
so by percentage. And it was only five,
but we were the largest, you know,
percentage in the state.
And I'm also very proud of being
able to promote the first female
lieutenant in the history of our
department and was able to mentor her and,
and bring her to a point where,
you know, she was, she became,
she got first on the lieutenant's test
and I was so happy to promote her. So,
but as far as, you know, the recruitment
stuff and retention, you know,
the recruitment, you gotta get more, you
know, the word out there and retention,
you gotta, you know,
obviously money's the number one thing
that brings people in and keeps 'em
there. But, you know, when
you've exhausted that avenue,
you gotta sort of add value to the, to
the job. And you gotta make it a more,
you know, pleasant place to work. The,
the years and the days of, you know,
tormenting, you know, the new
firefighters and, you know, and,
and that sort of thing is, is it's
just, it's not acceptable anymore. And,
and as far as I'm concerned, it needs
to go by the wayside. If it hasn't yet,
you know, you need to be able to
positively reinforce, you know, these,
these younger firefighters
when they come in,
they're a completely different generation.
They think of a completely different
way than we did when we came in.
And I think, you know,
when the leadership needs to spread
that word to the middle management,
to the captains or the, the
lieutenants and the deputies, you know,
to foster that relationship that, you
know, these new firefighters need,
need your help, they need your mentoring.
You know, if they have questions,
answer 'em, you know,
don't just tell 'em to do something
because you told 'em to do it. Just,
ask 'em to do something and explain
to them why you're asking to do that.
And I think, you know, that goes a
long way to retention. If they're,
if they're happy there,
then they'll stay there.
Okay. And sort of a,
a final follow up part of you
mentioned there's a number of new
firefighters, and that's
certainly the case in Wellesley.
How do you as chief prepare these
new firefighters to sort of get
ready for a changing future of
the fire service in America?
Be upfront with 'em. You
know, tell 'em, you know,
you gotta make sure they understand,
you know, what the, what the job is. I,
I hired I think a dozen firefighters
in my time as chief in Portsmouth. And,
and a few of them after a few
months realized, you know,
for whatever reason that this wasn't,
this wasn't their thing. And you know,
I didn't, if they came
in and said, you know,
we gave me a reason why they didn't
think it was their thing, you know,
I didn't encourage them to
stay if they felt, you know,
that strongly about it because, you
know, I think at that point, if, if it's,
if you don't like it now, it's
not gonna get any better for you.
So you gotta be honest with 'em. And
you know, and unfortunately you do,
you do lose a few that way. But, you
know, in, in the interview process,
bringing them in, you know, you really
hammer home, you know, what the job is,
what the, you know, what the commitments
are and you know, and, and, and the,
the risks involved. And, and,
and then when they're, you know,
when they're on the shift again, you
gotta sort of, you gotta keep the,
the line officers in the
middle management, you
know, on a, on a course of,
just better communication
and better relationships
with the younger firefighters
so that, you know, they, it's their job
to tell them and to explain to them,
you know, what the job is and, and
coach them and train them, you know,
and bring them along. So again,
just impress upon that, you know,
those deputies and lieutenants
that, you know, they, you, you're,
you're there to help them, you're there
for them. And, you know, I guess that's,
that's how I would do that. You know,
it's not something that the sheep is
gonna go down and talk to every new
firefighter on the floor, you know, and
convince him to stay or not stay. Right.
Okay. Thank you. Megan, you
wanna take the next two?
Just a few.
So we maybe have time for, I'd say it's
seven 17. Brian, what do you think? One,
Yeah, why don't we do one more.
Cause we've done these out of
order. I gotta look, hold on.
So although this is a, you
know, a a shorter stay,
why don't you discuss how you've
engaged with the other departments
in, in Portsmouth and how you would go
about engaging with the departments here.
It's, it's through the other
departments within the town chair.
When I first became the chief, the,
the manager of the city sort of sort of
got the department heads in a position
where they've sort of competed against
each other. So, and then we had a
change of, of leadership at the,
at the city manager level. And,
and then we had Covid and you know,
we went from a position of sort of having
our own little islands within the city
everybody's on the same island and we
better start figuring things out cause the
water's rising, right? So we were able to,
to have to collaborate together and
have to get together and do things and,
and that, you know, once, you know,
COVID waned and, and, and started to end,
we found that, you know,
we had much better working
relationships and things were, you know,
just all of our, all of our
situations were, were much,
much better because we meshed
together. We knew each other more,
we knew each other better. And you
know, we, we were just, especially with,
you know, public works and PD and,
and we worked a lot
with our senior center,
we with the senior citizens through
the vaccine stuff. But, you know,
as far as specific examples, you
know, I'm not sure just every day,
I mean every day situations
we, you know, like our,
our D P W handles the
hydrants, so, you know, does,
does the hydrants and we obviously,
we use the hydrants all the time. So,
you know, just being able to pick
up the phone and say, Hey, listen,
our guys are gonna be out
training, you know, at, you know,
on whatever avenue Richards Avenue
today, you know, just, just so you know,
we're gonna be flowing a few thousand
gallons of water, whatever, you know,
that that kind of stuff didn't exist
before. We would just go do it.
They'd find out about it, they'd
get upset and we'd be like, Hey,
we gotta do it. And now it's, you know,
like, pick up the phone and talk to 'em.
Just, you know, pick up and do it.
And, you know, and obviously, you know,
and our position, we, we, we deal with
finance all the time in HR and you know,
I I, I had no problem picking up the
phone and, and calling HR and saying,
listen, this is my situation. I need
some help with this person, you know,
help me out. And, and they're more
than happy to help out. So I mean, I'm,
I'm not afraid to pick up the phone
and say, you know, I need this and,
you know, anything I can do for
you, let me know and I'll, I'll,
I'll bend over backwards to make
sure that I can, can do what I can.
Okay, that's great. Thank
you. And Todd, just a,
a follow up to be clear with the
board, I know you're traveling,
when do you get back and when could you
start? So the board understands that.
So we're, we're due to come
back after the, what's the day?
The 12th of the 13th, I think
of August. So, you know,
anytime after that would be, would be
best. I mean, we, I could move that up, I,
if we had to, but you know, we,
we could discuss that, I think,
you know. Okay. If, if it came to it.
And that's of August,
by the way, so, yeah.
So Brian, it that's, that's it,
right? We're gonna move on now and,
and with great thanks to you, Todd,
for joining us and
particularly given the, the,
the hour of the day or the hour
of the night there in, in Glasgow.
But thank you very much.
We really appreciate it.
It's been great to hear
what you have to say.
You're welcome. Very nice
meeting you all. Thank you.
And Todd, Dave or I will be back
in touch with you as we go forward,
so thank you. Obviously you're
free to log off at this time.
Okay, thank you. Good night folks. Bye.
Okay, through the chair.
Does the board wanna take a quick break
or go right into the next candidate
who is, is here?
Yeah, I think we wanna go
right into the next candidate.
Okay. So I believe Dave Sore has
joined us. Dave, if you can hear me,
why don't you turn on your video and
there we go. Good evening, how are you?
Good, how you doing Brian? Good, good.
So let me introduce you
to the board once again.
Dave has gone through a
similar process as Todd.
He's had two interviews for
the purpose of screening.
One with just Dave Houghton and myself,
and then a second both with the,
the chief and Megan and my team.
So he's been vetted through that
process and once again survive,
Dave comes to you with 22 years
experience as a mass fire chief,
which can, can be important for a
law and regulation. I know there,
there were some things that
Todd had mentioned on that,
but 14 years in Weston as
chief and eight years in sto.
And I'm sure we're gonna hear from Dave
much more about his career as we get
going. So I'll turn it to
the chair to start the,
the questions and then Megan and I
will pick up the questions after that.
Thank you very much and and
welcome Dave and thanks so much for
joining us on this hot night. Thank you.
So just a reminder to the board that
we're gonna be asking the same questions
that we asked before. So I
will just go back to asking
about your management style
and how you would approach
the need for change with the, within
the Wellesley Fire department.
Obviously any transition brings about
a lot of change and so just interested
in how, how you would approach that.
Yeah, it does bring a lot when you have
to do, when you have to make changes,
I would probably take some, a
little bit of time when they're,
I've worked with people, I
don't know them personally,
but I've worked with Wellesley fire
department, I kinda, I know the in,
I know how they operate. So I
would go in, do some evaluations,
see, see what needs to
be changed. I know a few,
few things were discussed
in the early interviews.
Then you bring the changes to your command
staff and to all the members of the
department. I think I would try to
meet with, with each one of the groups,
explain to them what the changes
are, why we're making the changes.
I would take their feedback cuz again, I
don't know everything there is to know,
but at the end of the day it is
my decision as to why, you know,
we're going to make,
make the changes that we're
going to make and then then you,
you implement the changes
and you try to do it
as smoothly as you can. I
mean, some things are gonna go,
I've had some things that went
very well. They, the, you know,
the transition was great. It wasn't an
issue. There were other things that,
you know, were an issue that we had
to work out the bugs and, you know,
I had to work with the union on some
stuff and just continue to keep an open
line and communication and be transparent
as to what we're doing and why
we're doing it.
Great, thank you.
So if you had to name your
greatest strength, what,
what would you say it it is in
terms of your management style?
I think my ability to get
people to, to do what,
what needs to be done. I like to,
I have a really positive attitude.
I lead by example. I'm
compassionate. You know,
I, I I had lunch with the guys I
know and, and the females. I would,
you know, I would listen to everybody,
you know, get to know them as a person,
get to, I built my trust with
them so that they would, you know,
they felt comfortable talking
to me about things. And I,
I think, aside from my fireground
side of it, which I think is probably,
I'm pretty, I'm very strong on
the fire, on the fire side of it,
the management in the station is,
is my ability to read
and work with people and
get people all on the same page
and going in the same direction.
Thank you very much.
So I am just looking to see who's
next. Beth, I believe you were.
Next. I am so welcome. Thank you.
Thank you for joining us tonight.
My question is, you've
been in Weston a long time,
so when you think about the
differences between your most recent
position in Weston and the position of
interim chief in the town of Wellesley,
how would you characterize
the key differences.
There? Really, honestly, there's
not a whole lot of differences.
Wellesley and Weston are very much alike.
Wellesley is a little bit bigger cuz
you're running, there's a 59, you know,
person. We were 30, 36.
We both had two stations run wise.
We're a little bit busier than we were,
but the cha the characteristics
of the town and the job
for the most part is pretty much
the same. You know, it's the same.
You have to get in, you have
to get to know everybody.
You've gotta get to what makes people
tick, what you know, what what they do,
what they like to do and
things like that. But as,
as far as Wellesley and Weston there,
there's really not a big
difference between the two.
And as a follow-up,
can you tell us what is it
about this opportunity that has
drawn you to apply and
why are you interested?
I retired last July with the
intention of, I had been there,
you know, for 22 years as the chief,
14 years in Weston. And there were,
there were a lot of problems in Westin
when I first got there, but we, we,
it was in a really good
place. I had mentored,
we hired a deputy and I had brought him
along to the point that he was ready
take my position and we had
brought somebody up that would,
that would be able to fall into the
deputy's position. We had people,
when I first went there, we had nobody,
people were not taking the exam
to get promoted. When I left,
I think there was, I
forget the exact number,
but if there was 15
people that were eligible,
like 12 of the people that
were eligible took the exam.
So there was,
things were in a really good
place and I did wanna touch base
with, you know, a company like Brian's
and do either interim Chiefing,
whether it is in Massachusetts or
not, but I, I just took a year,
I had a couple surgeries on my shoulders.
I had those fixed and this
opportunity presented itself and
it's a good opportunity. I know,
I don't know all the, you know,
the whole town of Wellesley,
I can, you know, I,
I don't know all the streets in it,
but I'm pretty familiar with the town.
I'm very familiar with the area,
I'm very familiar with how things in this
area work, all the chiefs in the area.
So it just seemed like
it was a really good fit.
Great. Well thank you
for your consideration.
And Mara, thank you Lisa.
And thank you so much David
for coming to this evening.
Make yourself available for the board
to meet you. Thank you for having me.
So I'm wondering about
communication and how,
how do you communicate with,
involve and motivate your staff
and preserve the chain of command
or the command structure within
your organization, and maybe a,
a specific example of a challenge that
you faced with your staff and how you
used your communication skills
to resolve that challenge and,
and at the end of the day,
have a motivated staff,
even though you had to deal
with something difficult.
I, I have an open door policy.
I, I will, you know, let,
people can come in, I can talk to people.
They have a problem. They can bring,
they can bring the problem to me. Depend,
you know, depending on what it is,
if it's a, if it's a small group problem,
they have to follow the chain of
command, and I make sure that,
that I comu i will com I would
communicate that as soon as I got there,
that there was a command structure.
You'd have to follow the,
the chain of command. And then for, you
know, for other, you know, other issues.
Like I said, I had an open
door policy. I did, I had to,
I did have to work with my command
staff because as we all know,
sometimes I would put a memo out
to change something, you know,
and my shift captain would say he,
he would be asked by his group, well,
we're doing this because the
chief said, so. I'm like, well,
that's not the answer that
you have to give them.
You have to sell them on what you are
doing. And they have to buy into it.
And they have to be able to communicate
down to the subordinates why we're doing
it that they've bought in. And that,
that way you can start to get
buy in all the way down the line.
So it starts at the top with me being
able to talk to my direct supervisors who
are going to go to the subordinates
and explain to them what we're doing,
why we're doing it, and how the
message needs to be put out there.
You can't just come out and say, well,
the chief wants it done. Okay, well,
why does the chief want it done? Well,
just because he wants it done there,
there has, they're gonna ask questions.
There has to be a reason why.
So thank you. So, just as a
follow up can, do you have,
can you share a specific example
of a time when that didn't
go so well and you had to
work with maybe a particular member of
your staff who was disappointed in the
way the decision that you made and how
you work them through that so that at the
end of the day,
they were motivated and ready to go back
to work as a firefighter and do the job
they needed to?
I think one of the bigger ones when I
first got there was the radio system.
I was kind of told that they
had a radio system that was very
dysfunctional. I had
to make it work. So we,
we began the process with a vendor.
We started working on things and I I,
there was a few people there that were,
They knew radios, but they
weren't like radio technicians.
So any change that I was making,
there were always bumps along the way
and things that had to be worked out.
We went from, we took the
bells out of the station,
we went to a different alerting system,
you know, thing, things like that.
We took out the street boxes that, that
did not go over big with the members,
but I had to explain to them that,
you know, this system is here.
It's costing the town X
amount of money. It is very,
very rarely used today was
cell phones and, you know,
the modern technology.
And I explained how the new system
was gonna work as they were a little
It was a mesh system that had repeater
systems where you could get around the
town and, and it took time and it,
it just took continuing to work
on the process and making sure
that it got done and it was done
properly. And it, it worked.
It, but it took, it took
time. And, you know,
I don't take those things personal.
It's, it's part of my job. I have,
they have to be done. So,
and we sold it and it worked
and it worked out. Good.
All right. Thank you so much, Tom.
Thank you. And thank you for
joining us tonight, David.
As others have said before,
me and I, you know, I,
I appreciate the length of service that
you've had in the chief's position.
Certainly the concept of an interim
chief here in Wellesley was not where we
started at the beginning
of this search process,
but I think working closely with mri, it,
it grew out of the interviews and
the process that was underway and
appears to be a good opportunity for
us in terms of trying to understand
and define and correct some of the
issues that we perceive to be ongoing in
the department. As a result,
we anticipate an ongoing relationship
with M R I that is really important
to us in terms of a defined period
of one year that we're trying to
make this work and achieve
very specific end results.
So how would you work with the M R I
team to determine progress on goals
and objectives and support
so that we arrive at the end of this
with the ability to go back and search
for a permanent chief?
my philosophy on the second part of your
question is that basically everybody
should know everybody else's
job in the fire service. The,
the firefighters should, they should be
trained and they should know what their,
their shift commanders do on a daily
basis. They should be mentoring them,
and I should be mentoring the
people below me so that, you know,
the, that they can get the message
out to the people below that.
I do understand that
there are some candidate,
you have some internal candidates
that were very close in this process,
but weren't quite there yet. And
as I did when I was in Weston,
I would work closely with those people
and get them to where they need to be
so that they can become a chief or
a deputy wherever they want to go.
The MRI team, we could meet this,
we, this was talked about before,
that they would lay out, you know,
some goals and timelines and we would
meet every couple months to go over
whether how the process
was going, how, you know,
whether we were getting meeting the goals,
whether the person or
people that were in this,
these positions were coming up to
speed quick enough or if it was going
to take longer, or did they need to
go down and do ano another avenue. I.
I think too, as a, as a sort
of a follow up comment and,
and question there, there's,
there are not just the goals with regard
to internal candidate development,
but there are also goals in terms
of sort of cultural change and
organization and operation. So I,
I think it's very important that you
anticipate working closely with M R I and
in terms of trying to achieve
th that half of the job as well
over the next 12 months.
And I, I just want to ask,
I assume that you're aware of
that and are need for that to
happen as well?
Yes. I mean there's, there are,
there are issues in every department
that you go to. And we had
that pretty much had to change
my first stint as chief,
they really weren't a fire department.
It was, it was a fire department,
but it was the, you know,
just the people that lived in town
and they came and we actually built a,
a fire department and I got the buy-in
from the members that were on the
department. They worked really
closely with me to do that.
When I went to the, when I took on
my second job, there was, you know,
there was some internal issues that were
there that had to be addressed as far
as getting the department up to The,
not this century, but how, how
you need to pass information down.
it was something that the o
the officers couldn't just hold
the information close to their vessel
that no one could take their job.
It had to be passed down
to the firefighters so that
they could do the job when
the officers were out and they'd be ready
to do the job when the officers were
out. I do, I guess I
understand that there was some,
there's some schooling, you know,
there's issues with some, you know,
going to school and things like that.
That's something I would have to evaluate
as to who has what for education.
But they all should be at
a, at a level, you know,
they should all have their fire officer
officer classes and things like that.
those are things that have to work with
that I have to look into and see who
has, who has what. I'd have to talk
to Megan and see as far as money,
what we have to spend to
send these people to school,
whether we need to cover them,
not cover them, things like that.
Well ahead. Hi,
thank you for coming and sharing
your time with us tonight.
So I wanted to ask a question, just taking
a deeper dive into your 90 day plan.
What are two specific projects that
you would collaborate with the staff to
bring positive change to the
Wellesley, the fire department?
If you can give us your top
two items, that would be great.
I think first I would like to just
go in and meet with all of my,
all the senior staff, all the, you know,
the, the deputies and the lieutenants,
the union president.
I'd like to meet with all of the
groups to get everybody to kind of,
to just tell them what my vision is,
what I'm there for, what I'm going to do,
get what they are looking to get out
of a fire department because they're,
at the end of the day, they're
the ones that they work there,
you want to keep them there, you
want them, you want them to be happy.
So you've gotta, you've gotta create a
work environment that they want to go to.
So I need to know what that is that they,
that they are looking for and what they
feel is lacking in, in the department.
And then, you know, work on,
work on that short term
and then maybe make on,
take on a little longer of a
goal period and set that up
so that there is, there's,
there's goals and objectives set for the
future for the next person who's gonna
come in after, after the, the year
for them to follow and finish.
And, and it also,
it gives the firefighters and the
officers something to strive for.
Thank you. And just as a, a follow
up, you did talk a little bit in our,
and our last question about is there
enough budget for training and education,
things like that.
Could you talk to us a little bit
more about your experiencing with Bud,
your experience in budgeting
with the department and how,
how you work with other
departments in, in doing that?
Yeah, I've done budget for 22 years.
I've developed basically with, you
know, with the help of the town,
with the town manager, the town, the,
the treasurer and the accountant. We
would develop a budget. I would base,
you know, my budget,
there's a lot of variables in this job
that you don't know about. You know,
you can't predict how many
buyers you're gonna have.
We had callback on our department,
so members would come back.
So I can't, you can't predict that.
So I had to go in and go back over and
try to get, you know, a pretty good,
a pretty good idea of how many times
during the la over the last five years
before I came, did this happen,
what they were spending on training,
who was getting the training. I looked
at what needed to be done for training,
broke it down into smaller, manageable
pieces so I wasn't, you know,
throwing everything at
the town at one time,
but trying to accomplish the same thing.
See what we could do in-house as opposed
to having to go out and either hire
someone or bring someone
from the outside in.
We looked at, we set up,
we had a 10 year capital
replacement plan set with the town
as far as, you know, all, all
our pieces, our fire apparatus,
our turnout gear was replaced every five
years so that they had a set every so
that every 10 years when it,
it goes through its cycle,
it can be disposed of properly.
We set up a plan for our,
the jaws of white, basically all large
capital expend expenditures. We had,
we had figured out for the
future as to what was what,
when we were gonna need to replace
them, how much it was gonna be.
And we tried to spread things out so it
wasn't all happening at the same time.
Okay, thank you. I really appreciate that.
Yep, go ahead Megan. You're
gonna go ahead. Yes. Yep.
So thanks David. Good to see you
again. Good to see you. And you,
you touched on this a little bit already,
but could you maybe go through a
few examples of things that you,
you've done in the past successfully
or things that you potentially would
implement here in,
in the interim position for
internal mentorship and you know,
how you would make that a success?
Yeah, it's, it would start obviously
with me and you have to get
the, you know, the officers that
are, that are directly below you,
you would need to work with them to make
sure that the message that I'm sending
out gets sent down to them.
The training that we're doing gets
sent down to them because as I,
as I said before, they,
everybody there should know what
everybody else's job is. And yeah,
you, you do need to go to school
to, you know, to, to advance.
But you should have a pretty
good idea of how and what I do.
The firefighters should know what the
deputies do and that starts with me and
getting out and talking to everybody and
setting them up for the future and say,
look, if you want to have a future
here and you want to succeed,
this is what you have to do. You have
to do steps A, B, C, and D to do that.
I know, I'd have to look at, you know,
there's some people probably that are
getting ready for retirement that may not,
they may not, you know, need
as much, not need, but they,
but the schooling piece of it,
it might be a little bit later
in their career for that.
So I'd have to find where,
you know, who needs what and,
and explain and work with them
as to why they, why they need it.
And set up a plan. And you know, this is,
you need your associates degree for this,
you need to have a bachelor's if you
want to go on to try to be a deputy chief
or a chief and, and make all and, and
make all those things available to them.
Not, you know, not bringing the
college to them, but, you know,
giving them the opportunity to go to
the schools, to go to the fire academy,
to go to the National Fire
Academy and things like that.
Great, thank you. As Interim
chief, even though it's,
it's for one year and, you know,
how do you communicate with the residents
and become involved in the community?
And, and so that could be, I'll say,
think about it sort of two ways.
What have you done in the
past and then, you know,
what are some strategies you could do.
This upcoming year?
I think we tried to be very
big in the community, you know,
have a big presence in the
community because people,
they don't see you and if they don't see
you, they don't know what you do there.
So any town event that we could be at,
somebody from the fire department was
there, whether we ho we had an open house,
which was a huge success.
Every year we ran an open house and people
would come and they'd get to see the
trucks. They did ice an ice cream, social.
And I would actually go out and scoop
ice cream and my deputy would go out and
we would, you know, we
would do that. And any,
we were involved with the COA heavily,
I'd meet with them on a monthly basis.
We would go over, you know,
the people in the town that
were in need in a crisis.
And then I had a group of firefighters
who actually went down and they,
they taught classes for the coa. They
taught cpr, they taught them fire safety.
We were in the,
the schools working with them real as
close as we could be with them. You know,
it's harder with the schools because
they're so mandated on time and what they
can do. But we worked
around it and when, but I,
I think any opportunity that you can
put yourself out there in front of the
people in the process, they
can put a face, face and a,
and a name to what you do, see
what you do, ask you questions,
find out what exactly the life of
a firefighter or a fire chief is.
It's only positive for the, for the,
both the department and for the town.
Great. Thank you Brian.
Thank you Dave. What,
what are three principles that
would guide you as interim chief and
Wellesley both looking at your
career and life experience,
and then why do these stand out?
I would say honesty, integrity,
and consistency. And there are
three things. If you're not,
if you're not honest and
transparent with your people,
you're never going to
get buy-in from them.
If you're not consistent with your people,
you're never gonna get buy-in and
integrity and honesty I guess go together.
But they, they're gonna look at me as,
as their leader as to what I do. And
that's the cue that they're gonna take.
And that's how they're gonna,
that's how they're gonna act.
If I come into work and
I'm dressed, you know, I,
my shoes are untied and I'm like, or
anything like that, and they, if they,
they see things like that,
they think it's okay to do,
that's what they're gonna
do. So I need to start,
I need to set the example of what I want
them to do and how I want them to act.
And the only way I'm gonna do
that is to have their trust.
Okay, thank you. And sort of the
next question of the couple of parts.
First of all,
how do you approach diversity and
recruitment of new firefighters
considering the current labor.
Market? It's, it's a
challenge for everybody.
Diversity we had, at one point we had
three females firefighters working.
One is a lieutenant one, one had to
leave cuz she was a medic and we aren't,
we aren't medic. So she
left for that. It, it,
it's really hard. But I, we,
I was more fortunate I think where I was
than it is in Wellesley because we had
a small call department.
So through word of mouth,
through the younger me, through
members on the department,
they would get people in there.
I had people that worked for the me
for the fire academy. So there just,
we had a big network. So we, we gotten
a lot of people that applied. We,
we made sure that their dedication,
that we made them go
through firefighter one,
two before we actually appointed them.
And if they were dedicated enough
to spend the four months to do that,
then that showed me that
they have that, that they,
that they've got a desire to be there.
And then we would bring 'em in and
they would do ride time with us.
So we got to see them, see whether
they were a fit in the station.
Cause both you and I know 75 to
80% of the time is you're in the
fire station and you can teach
someone to be a fire firefighter,
but you cannot teach them to be a person.
And if they don't get along
and work well with others,
then it, it's gonna be, it's
not gonna be a good match. So,
so I, I was very fortunate in that. And
I know Wellesley runs their own exam,
so I would have to dive into the exam and
get into people's backgrounds a little
bit and see who's done
what, you know, who, who's,
who's kind of stood out,
who's taken that step,
who's gone out and got their emt,
who's looked or tried to get in some
places to get on a department where they
could get sponsored for
firefighter one, two,
because that's just another notch in
your belt to get hired. To get hired in,
in the department.
Okay, thank you. And sort of a
follow up to that, Wellesley,
as most departments has
a lot of younger members,
sort of, these folks need
to be brought forward.
How do you prepare these folks for the
change that's really inevitable in the
American fire service?
Try to explain, you know, talk
to and explain to them what the,
the fire service is, what
it is, what it has evolved.
It's not the same job as it was
when you and I first started it.
You're not going to fires every day
anymore. I mean, most of our stuff is,
is medical related and is,
I can't think of the
word, but it's, you know,
it's that we're there to help
the, whatever their problem is,
we're there to help them. If, if
they call the fire department,
the people in the town of Wellsley,
it may not be an emergency to us,
but it is to them. So everything, so
everybody gets treated with respect.
Everyone gets treated the same way.
And so that needs to be explained to
the fire, to the young firefighters,
what they're actually
getting themselves into,
what the future is going
to be of the fire service.
And it needs to start with
the officers on the way down.
When I first started it was completely
different. The junior firefighter,
you got the coffee, you
cleaned the bathrooms, you
did this, you did, you know,
all these things. It's a
different environment today.
And these things have to be, you
have, they have to be spread out.
The junior firefighter can't be dumped
everything on because they're gonna
They're gonna feel like they're being
that it's just not gonna be fun for them
and they're gonna want to go someplace
that isn't, that is fun. So you have to,
you have to change,
basically you have to change the culture
of a fire department and get them to
understand that this is,
this is how things are today.
And you need to treat these people with
the respect you need to guide them,
you need to show them the way you need
to show them what they need to do.
There are very few fires today, so any
kind of experience that you can get, any,
from a senior member who's been there
and can talk about it with these young
people and get them to
understand, you know, what,
what they need to do on calls, what they
need to do on certain medical calls.
Anything that you can do to
get them to want to come to
work is, is, and I'm not saying
anything. I mean there's,
there's obviously there's money, there's,
there's a whole lot of different,
I had people leaving, you
know, for medic, you know,
to go to Cambridge for
money and things like that.
But our turnover rate was pretty good
because we made it a really good place for
people to want to come
to work. And that's what,
that's what I strive for.
Okay. So for the last question,
I'll turn it over to Megan
and then we'll close out.
So the last question is, although
you'll be the interim chief for a year,
how would you collaborate with the
wealthy departments or during your
tenure? Tenure and set an example
of relationships in the future?
With the town departments or.
Yeah, with the town departments.
We tried very, we,
we had really good relationship with the
town departments in the town I was in
because you know, the police department,
basically our jobs are the same.
I mean, we, we have a hose,
they have a gun, but we're,
we're there for the same thing. We're,
we're there to take care of whatever
needs that the people have within the
towns. 90% of the calls that the police
go on or we go on, we're together.
So you have to get along
with them. And we used to at,
we used to have the, you know, the
police come up and they'd have dinner,
with the members in the station just
because the more that you know about them,
the more that they know
about you and what you do,
the better off you're gonna
be. Our D P W department,
we relied on them for
everything in the wintertime,
the roads to make sure
that, you know, they,
everything was open that we could
get to where we, we had to get to.
They were really good as far as if we
needed some, Hey, we're going here,
can you have, you know,
the truck that was doing that particular
part of town would make sure that we
could get there if ahy, they
took care of the hydrants.
So we worked with them in the wintertime.
We went out and shoveled the hydrants
and they would go out with their machine
and we worked together
to make sure that they,
they all get cleared within
a timely manner. We would,
we're on the M W R A, which you
are as well. So you have to,
at the end of the year, turn in how much
water you use and what you used it for.
So if we,
we had a spot up in one of the cemeteries
that was just kind of off in the back.
It had a hydrant, it was a
great place for us to train.
We always let them know so that,
so obviously if there was
something going on in the cemetery,
we weren't gonna interrupt them.
They know that we were up there.
They know that we're using the
water and we could keep track of it.
So it made his life a lot easier at the
end of the year as to where that went.
Schools, you know, we worked
with them as far as, you know,
on the Asher training
and things like that.
And we tried to work around
them as much with fire safety,
especially on the younger kids. You know,
the older kids, it's a little harder.
But you know, we, we worked
with, so the relationship,
we're all there for the same thing. We're
all there for the people in Wellesley.
At the end of the day, it, that's what,
we're there for it for different reasons,
but we all have to work together
to make sure that that works.
And as far as departments go,
I mean I have a really good relationship
with Metro Fire through all the chiefs.
I've known them for the last 14 years.
We built some really good running
assignments with the cities.
We're very fortunate that Wal Dam and
Newton are right there. Cuz Weston is,
Weston was small. If we had a
fire, you know, we were running,
we had six, sometimes seven
guys go into it. We'd have to,
we'd rely heavily on them and at
the end, by the time, you know,
they would send and do anything
that we needed him to do.
They'd send us whatever we needed.
Newton was the same way I could pick
up the phone and call the Boston
commissioner cuz I'm, I added something
that I did not know about. And,
and he, you know, he'd answer
the question. So there's,
I I have a lot of those relationships
already built outside of the department.
I'd have to work, you know,
obviously in and meet with all the
department heads and see what their
expectations of us are and what
I'd be looking for outta them.
But I never have had a problem
with any department head.
I think if you went back and if
you asked my former employees,
I think you'd find the same thing from
them that I was pretty easy to work with.
And I got along with pretty
much everybody in the town, so.
Great, thank you.
Hope that, I hope that
answered your question.
It does, thank you.
And Dave, just to be
consistent as we close out,
talk to the board about your
timeline and availability.
The only I have, I mean,
the only thing I have is two days coming
up in two weeks that I'm going up to
Winni Psaki. Other than
that, I'm, you know, I,
I have like some, you know,
follow up doctor appointments
on my shoulder and things,
but other than that, I,
I can start whenever.
Okay, sounds good.
So what we'll do is Dave Houghton
or I will follow up with you
following this interview and I think
that concludes it for the board
tonight. So you can go ahead and
log off and we'll be in touch.
All right, well thank you very much.
Thank you everybody for your time.
Thank you very much for coming.
so we are moving on to a discussion of
the candidates and hopefully a vote.
I I will just say, I,
I think these are two really strong
candidates and Brian and Megan and
I really appreciate all the work that
you did to bring them to us because I,
this is a, a tough choice.
We've got two really obviously
very capable and experienced
who had a lot of great
answers to our questions.
So I'll just maybe ask if Brian,
you wanna say anything or Jack,
Megan and then open up to
comments from the board.
So it was our goal to give
the board a choice of two
individuals that could do the job. I I
think they both have different strengths.
You have Todd as someone
that hasn't been a chief as
but certainly has some very different
labor route and comes from sort of a
A and then you have Chief Soar
who is a well established,
chief who offers a lot in a sort
of a different way. So I think
from Dave Houghton and myself,
they're both very capable.
We really look at it as it's a
question of fit with the board
and on a daily basis fit with
Megan and the the chief. And,
and I really think that they
need to weigh in on that fit set.
I mean, I'm happy to weigh in
that we, I'll speak for myself.
I thought we could definitely work with
either candidate. I thought they both
were just as, as candid and
terrific in their responses with the
chief and I as they were tonight publicly.
I think they, we couldn't have
asked for better candidates.
We totally lucked out
that they're, you know,
willing to come back for a stint
of service after many years of
fire service. So I I I don't
necessarily have a preference.
I am very comfortable
with either candidate.
I think either one would be
serve the town very well that
I think in, they've both been very
collaborative in speaking to other
folks regarding them. It,
so we've had very positive reviews. Jack,
I don't know if you wanna add to that.
No, I, I, I concur with you, me, Megan.
I think the board has a tough decision
because I think they're both very
qualified. They're both,
they're different and I
think their approaches might
be a little bit different,
but at the end of the day, I, I think
either one could get the job done and,
and I could work with either one.
So I, I guess I'll just open with my,
my inclination and
grateful to hear from
others about their thoughts.
But I do think I given
the, as as Brian put it, the,
the distinctions between
the two candidates.
I do wonder if a fresh,
the fresh approach that the
candidate from New Hampshire brings.
It would be a really useful, I mean we're,
we're gonna be undergoing
a transition here.
And I think my sense,
my, I don't know, my,
I guess just gut instinct was
that he would bring a lot of fresh
ideas and I think one of the things
that we could really benefit from is,
is a lot of experience with a
different way of doing things.
Not that we necessarily
wanna do it that way,
but that that person would
bring kind of a different,
a different take.
And I think Chief Soar would also,
obviously has worked in a number
of different departments, but I,
I'm guessing his experience has
been by his own description,
has been much closer to
the Wellesley experience.
And I feel like what we
could really use right now is
some more out of the box thinking.
Not that Chief Sawer wouldn't
be capable of doing that,
but just by, by
just from having worked in a different
state and a different environment,
there might be some really fresh ideas
that that would be useful for our
department to have and could really help
create a a, a whole new
culture. So I I that's,
I'm sort of stumbling around here
because it really is a very tough
call, but I i, that,
that's sort of what
where my gut landed me.
So I agree that both are
very interesting candidates,
so thank you Brian and your
group. I think I netted out,
not surprisingly, probably
in a different place.
So I look at our most important job as
providing service to the community.
And I think Mr.
Soar is more familiar with
our type of community.
And what struck me is
his confidence that yes,
he's a collaborative leader, but at
the end of the day he makes decisions,
he gets buy-in and he
leads the department at all
levels through those choices
and he holds the line.
And I think that is, for me,
very important in a chief.
I want someone who, at the end of the day,
the buck stops with them and they're
going to own the decisions and they're not
afraid of change.
So it sounded to me like
he has been on our journey
of stepping into a department where
the leadership isn't quite there
but that there was a pathway
to get the members trained
and give them the experience
and that exposure.
And so for me that that
experience doing that was
very, very compelling.
And on the flip side,
I think there's too
many differences for me,
although I, I was very
impressed by Mr. Jermaine.
He's from a different state,
he's from a city and
he's a relatively young
y not young age wise, but less,
less exposed to all the challenges
that being a chief and holding
the line have because he
just did it for less time.
And I feel like what we should be
bringing to the community is that
absolute surety that
the chief has the
experience to lead through
decisions and lead
through change. And so I,
I feel more inclined toward Mr.
Soer because I feel like he
comes with that full package of
what we need.
You know, I,
it was interesting to hear
both of your comments just now,
Lisa, I agree with a lot of what you said,
but what I found myself wondering
is whether you were describing
a year from now the new chief
and whether what we need over the
next year is to right the ship
and to get the essential
department organized and
squared away in a way that
it is receptive and capable
of moving forward with new ideas
and outta the box thinking.
And that led me to think that,
that David might be a better
fit because the sheer command
presence, I, I think that's one of
the big advantages that he had to me
he understood how he needed to arrive
at a decision that was right for a
particular situation, but I think
he has a command presence that,
that Todd doesn't lack but
didn't have to the same
degree simply because of the number
of years that they've been chief.
And I I,
I wonder if the number of
years in services a chief I,
I'm thinking that that does
matter in this situation.
And, and I'm, I'm also think wondering
and, and this may be something
that Brian would be able to comment on if,
if there's a benefit to someone
who's well known and respected
within our fire community here,
because inevitably what you see
is the union and the individual
firefighters have connections
within that network and can go back
out and say, should I listen to this
guy or not? Is this guy a good guy?
Is he somebody who's got
the ability to do this job?
And they're gonna get
that kind of feedback.
As I went through the interview with,
as we went through the
interview with Todd,
and I mean this as a compliment to him,
I wondered whether he really wants
to be through with active duty
or whether he might end
up looking for a return
perhaps in another state.
I'm not at all familiar with the
New Hampshire retirement laws,
but the feeling I had is that he's
not through with with that job.
And I think David is through
with being an active chief,
but would bring a presence,
a basis of knowledge
and a and a skillset to
the work as interim chief. That
that's what attracted me to him.
And Mar right,
I wanna jump in before Colette so
that Colette ends up having to be the
tiebreaker here. No, cause I,
I actually agree with
everything everyone said.
I I thought they were both
great but both different.
I guess what I'm,
I'm struggling with is what do we
need for an interim versus the next
I did see feel that,
that David would,
would be a steady hand and bring so much
to the community while he's here and,
and if that's what we're looking
for is the steady hand to,
to just see us through the next
year, I think he'd be amazing.
And then I thought that
the other candidate,
I felt like he would come in and be,
would see things differently, which
is what you were saying, Lisa.
And it is a different way of
looking at it and it'd be different.
And if that's what we're
looking for in the interim,
he's the one to bring that
difference, I think. And so I,
I see them both doing
something great for Wellesley.
It's really what, what
do we want in this year?
And I think one thing
that really struck me
sorry about God, right? Yes.
So I lose my names, is that
he definitely saw that his main role was
the mentorship and I really heard that
in what he said.
And so I saw him seeing this as a job.
He was gonna come in and
help and help bring the,
the next generation along and get us
really ready for a new transition a year
from now, which I really appreciated.
I'm certain that David
could do that as well.
So I I really think that
they're both great and it's,
I guess I would slightly
lean towards Todd,
but I could be convinced the other way.
I do think they're both great
and it's just different.
It's, are we looking for a
shift or a steadying is what,
how I see this.
Oh boy. So I did,
this is a really, really difficult choice.
This is probably one of the most difficult
candidate selection processes I've
ever been through because
these are two amazing choices.
You're being asked to choose almost it
feels like between two good friends or
you know, someone, both people
that would be amazing for the job.
So that's, that's on the,
on the plus side for us.
I think we're gonna commit to
this in a very, very good place.
When I started on paper and I I,
I read all We have, I was really,
the depth and breadth of the chief
experience was really important to me.
So I really was predisposed to Mr.
Sore when I read on paper.
And then of course the interviews they
both interviewed amazingly and I was
actually really struck by,
although they're different
people in different approaches,
they gave a lot of very similar responses.
They understand exactly what it is
we need to do, where we need to go,
what the steps are to get there. So I
think we're gonna have the same approach.
I'm so torn on this one because I
completely agree with everything everyone
said. One thing that kind of
speaks to me a little bit is
both our internal candidates
and our new firefighters
And so having someone closer
to them might in their
sort of arc of life would, might,
might help with the mentorship process.
Whereas the, the gravity,
the command presence,
the this sort of agent experience that
David brings is unquestionably there and
is is very distinctive and
very comforting for us.
We would know we'd be, we'd
be in a very steady hand.
It's hard because he also brings a
knowledge of the area and the culture
and the, the neighboring towns and the
people he'd been working with. But I,
I do think I lean towards
Mr. Soar in the end.
I would be happy to go with either,
but I think that's where I'm leaning
just from a perspective of a little
bit of an outside perspective
because we are,
we are seeking that as part of the
mentorship for not only the leadership,
but it will also help with the
younger generation. So that's,
that's where I'm leaning.
Did you Mr. Jermaine,
sorry, Mr. Jermaine. Sorry,
did I under duress in the moment probably
said the wrong word, but Mr. Jermaine,
I think, yeah, that's what I'm waiting.
Yeah, I i it's, it's hard not to,
for every argument for one, there's
a counter argument for the other.
It's hard not to, not
to be doing that in in,
at least I'm finding that in my
head. But I, I will just say I think,
I do think to your point Ann Mara,
about sort of what is the
goal here for this year. I,
I think it's more than a steady
hand I would say. I mean I,
I think we do have some
changes that that need to
and this mentorship is
obviously a major goal.
So I I would, that's,
that's sort of what the way I'm thinking
about what's going to happen over the
course of this year. I'm sorry
Tom, did you have your hand up?
Well, I, I did because it, it,
I think it's important that people,
that there have been several people
who have used the term steady hand and
I, I'm, I'm trying to sort of share
my thinking so that people can,
can not just tell me whether they
disagree, but help me sort of refine it.
And to me there's an attraction to
a steady hand in terms of what I
think has to happen over the next
year in that I don't think we
have a problem fighting fires. I I,
my understanding is that our
personnel are very good in the job
of fighting fires. And
so I wonder if that,
if that steady hand, if
it's in the right person,
means that there is a consistency within
which they are able to identify the
kinds of problems we have and fix
them and that that's where the command
presence comes from. I'm,
I'm a bit concerned that
Todd as a person who
is younger but who has
less command experience
won't have that same
advantage. And I'm not sure,
while he has some different thinking
that he has a basis of knowledge with
which to move forward in effective
ways with that new thinking,
I, I think that's,
that's an advantage too.
So my comments would be very different
if we were interviewing these two as
a permanent chief, but I
just wonder if over the,
over the next year there isn't
a benefit to that significant
experience that David brings to the table.
Beth? So yeah,
and thank you first for to everyone for
their comments cuz I do think this is
both very important and also
a very difficult choice.
I think the other reason
I am inclined toward Mr.
Soar is that a year is not a lot of time.
And when I think about the,
the number of things that
when you take on a new role,
learning the community
learning, the state learning,
the department and mentoring
seemed to me to be,
if we can knock a few o off,
we're giving our interim a higher amount
of time to focus on the things that
set us up long term. So
if the community is known,
the network in the state is known,
the the kind of the area is understood,
then for me it allows more,
more opportunity to focus on the
department as opposed to focus
on everything else.
That is it doing all the
other parts of being a
chief will take less, less time.
So that's part of what I looked at
in terms of prioritizing because
if we're bringing someone in that maybe
doesn't have all those boxes checked,
but they're here for a longer time,
I think that's a different choice.
But we're looking for
a year. And so for me,
I, I would like
some of the skillsets or some
of the inherent knowledge
to be in place when the
person starts. And I,
Brian maybe can comment on that, but that,
that's one of the things in addition to
what Tom so eloquently put as command
presence I think was also
going on in my choice. Set.
Any other comments?
Yeah, I just, I just wanted to
sort of, I I, I completely, I hear,
you know, both Tom and
Beth's comments here,
but I just want to note that the
department itself knows the community,
knows the town, knows the
networks. We have that.
And so I'm just trying to
balance between, you know,
what we have and what we're looking to
add to this department in the next 12
Yeah, I think that's a really
good point. I I think that's,
that's well said. I, I feel like
those are the things that we have,
we have a strong department
that can, you know,
preserve safety and, and do its
job very effectively in the town.
I'm thinking more in terms of what
we don't have and that we need. And
to me that's sort of
the fresh approach and
a perspective from other departments and,
and how they do things differently
in other places that could really
help us leap ahead over
the course of this year
in terms of becoming a more
which is kind of where I
would like to see us go.
So that's what's persuasive to me about
sort of the outside candidate
so now everything everyone says I
agree with and it shifts my perspective
and then I shift back. So
I completely agree with Colette saying
that we have so much already in our
but that also made me think about
the fact that this person's gonna
walk in and not have a lot
of time to get things done.
And so I'm thinking about who is
going to be trusted more quickly
and maybe they're familiar
would have a better impact or a more
chance for an impact in this one year
he would walk in and already
just because of the familiarity
Weston is right next door
and that command presence and
his years of experience that he
he would walk in maybe having that
respect without having to do much.
He just is right. Whereas, you know,
the other candidate might have to work
harder to earn that respect and that time
that it would take in that department
to get that is time that might get
wasted in this very short year. So
I'm, now I'm shifting because I i
I really think that it is important to
get as much done as possible in this,
in that short period of time. And I
mean obviously we're not, it isn't,
we haven't said it's calendar year,
you know, August 12th to August 12th,
but there is something to be said
about a person that could walk in and
just walk into being the Wellesley fire
chief even on an interim basis without
really any concerns whatsoever, I don't
think from anyone in the department.
But, you know, I wish I, I'm not that
I've talked to anybody in the department,
but now I'm starting to think that way.
Can we ask, I, I don't know
how much Brian can add to this,
but I'm interested in his perspective.
So again, I think,
I feel the board's pain here that
this is a very difficult decision.
We strobe to give you a tough choice and,
and I think between Dave
and I that have done this,
we see some of the same advantages and
disadvantages that you have pointed out,
whether it's familiarity with metro
fire in the network. Ultimately
we're trying to give the department
an opportunity to grow and,
and to sort of grow toward
where the fire service is
going in the future. Either
one is capable of doing that.
I really balance the
outside perspective benefit
with being an established
mass chief as about equal.
So chief I'm gonna sort of defer to,
it's really the board's
Either one of them could do a great job
and, and that's how we vetted them. And,
and to be honest with you,
Dave and I had some of the same
discussions that you're having,
which one would be better? And
I think we also had it with the,
the chief and Megan as well.
So I know I'm not adding
a lens of clarity here,
but I I think either one is fine for
what you're trying to accomplish.
They may do it in a different way,
but I think the, the department,
as long as the,
the department embraces the
interim chief and the opportunity
to grow has a real springboard forward
here and it can be very positive
as long as it's looked at in that way.
Well I I'm not sure.
I'm not sure any, I I, does anyone have
anything they, they really wanna add?
Are we ready to, are people
pretty much talked out?
Ann Mara, you look like you're sort
of on the verge of saying something.
I just, I just wanna
clarify, did, did everybody,
so I I did think their leadership
styles were, were very different,
right? And I just wanna make sure
that I was seeing that properly that,
that Mr. Jermaine is a,
is a little bit more of a,
he used the word Democratic, right?
So it's, I might say collaborative,
although he didn't use that.
He said Democratic where I
really felt like Chief Soar is
very much, he, he is the chief.
So it's a little more of a
top-down approach and I told him,
is that what everybody else picked
up? Cuz it's Yes. Misunderstand that.
Yeah, Collin and did you pick up
that as well? Yeah, yeah. I mean the,
I those were the notes I took. Yeah.
I think that's an excellent point. Ammar,
you, you're looking at Todd,
Mr. Jermaine, chief Jermaine as
maybe his approach and is more
win over people over the course of time
as opposed to Chief Soar who
would come in and
through his presence
kind of lead direct, you know, right away.
I, I I think there's an
advantage of someone who's not,
not, not that they're not
concerned, but somebody who
willing to do it their way instead of you,
you can collaborate to a certain extent.
I'm not sure how much this department,
the fire department needs
that collaboration. I think
both will collaborate,
but there's something to be said for
somebody to come in and say, Hey look,
this is the way it's gonna be and you
don't like it, talk to me about it.
But at the end of the day, that's what
it's gonna be. Not here to make friends.
I I'm I'm here to, you
know, get the job done. I
they're both great
candidates. I like 'em both.
Okay, well, so we lost Dan Mara.
I mean I I I really feel that too,
that they're both great candidates.
I hear a very strong
argument for Chief Sar.
I'd be very comfortable with
him as, as our selection
and I'm happy to go with that.
As would I, Lisa, like
I said at the beginning,
we are in great hands with either of
these choices or just absolutely they're
just different and I'm, I'm,
I'm very comfortable with either choice
and either choice would have my full
You like a motion, Lisa?
Well, I'm, I'm feel a little Ann Mara
is on the phone. I just wanna make sure.
I'm, I'm so sorry that was like a little
family emergency, but I'm, I'm back.
I apologize for that.
I was just saying that both Colette
and I were just saying we'd be very
comfortable with the selection
of Chief Soar. So, you know,
I I think we're we're, we've
reached a consensus here.
Yeah, I mean that's
where we're netting out.
I I think they're both great so I would
completely support the board if that's
Okay. So yes, I think we need a motion.
Okay. Move to appoint Mr.
David Soar as interim fire chief and
Wellsey subject to a successful contract
And do we put a time start or.
I think it would be contingent upon
the contract and their availability.
Aye and Beth.
Tom Aye and I vote Aye as well.
Okay. That was a tough one, but Brian,
thank you very much. It was a,
a really fascinating conversation
with both candidates and I
know we're, we're gonna
be in very good hands.
Okay. And we'll follow up and inform both
candidates and take it from there with
Megan. So thank you very much for tonight.
Thank you. Thank.
Lisa. I apologize but I just have to
step out for two more minutes so I,
I know you'll move on,
but I'll be right back.
Okay. All right.
So next item is discuss and
vote the PSI recommendation with
regard to the Wellesley College
Health and Counseling Center.
So thank you.
We have Michelle Mahu from Wellesley
College here along with Justin Mosca,
who is the V H B engineer on the project.
Good to see you again Justin. He, he's
done some ful work over the years,
so the project has been submitted
for a project of significant impact.
I can have Justin give you a brief
overview of the project, but, or Michelle,
but just as a reminder,
so the select board's role in
this is the select board issues,
a recommendation to the
permit granting authority,
the planning board with
regards to traffic,
both signalize and unsign
as well as sidewalk evaluations
as part of the pedestrian bike and
So the board has received
the application. I had a,
initially a draft
recommendation I have sent
given this project largely
does not trigger many of the
components of the PSI
traffic because it's a,
it's actually a reduction
in square footage and we,
we can go through that briefly. I
did have beta engineering just do a,
a brief peer review on this and the,
the board didn't really see
it cuz it, but it was tan,
got back to me just through
an email that, you know, they,
they had no issues with
traffic, no issues with parking,
construction, traffic. They had
a few questions on Sidewalk,
which we can address as part of the
discussion. And, and so with that,
maybe Justin I'll just have you
give, you know, a or Michelle,
whoever would like to proceed
with just a very brief
overview of the project the board has
received the, the full PSI application.
Yep. No, certainly I'll, I'll
keep it high level and just,
just walk you through and orient.
Let me share my screen real quick.
Please comes through.
So thank you for having us again.
Just having listened to the last one,
I need to just point out that I don't
envy your position on having to make that
vote. So hopefully this
one will be easier for you.
So we are hopefully most, most folks
are familiar with Wealthy College,
Route 1 1 35 Central Street is up on
sort of the top of the map that you're
seeing here and Route 16 Washington
Street is kind of on the,
on the southeast border, the of
the college with Lake Waban on the,
to the Southwest.
So everything you see sort of between
that triangle as Wellesley College.
The project that we're
proposing is kind of,
sort of smacked out in the
middle of, of the property.
It's over by the science center and
it's a replacement of Simpson Hall,
which is this building right
here. So it's actually gotten a,
it's attached to Simpson Cottage with it,
which is an older structure and
that Simpson Cottage is staying.
But as I zoom back out, so
you can see the campus again,
you can kind of see how it's how
it's in the middle of the property.
And that's important, you know, we'll
talk about that a little bit later.
But just because we're not making any
changes to connections to the municipal
College Road, like where,
where you actually access the college,
the project itself, as Megan mentioned,
it's a reduction in square footage.
The existing Simpson Hall that,
that I had circled is a
19,000 square foot structure.
The building that's gonna be going in
is a new health and counseling center,
and that is 11,000 square feet.
So the health services are current or
were currently, that doesn't make sense.
They were in Simpson
Hall previously. They're,
they've been temporarily moved to
the college club to make way for this
demolition. And then the health services
will move back into this facility.
The health services are run by Newton
Wellesley Hospital for the college.
So essentially these are programs
and staff and students that are all
present in the college already.
It's not a growth in at any kind in
student population or staff population.
And we're not impacting any parking
spaces. And it will temporarily,
they'll need to be laid
downs for construction,
but ultimately everything around
the building stays the same.
So we're not creating any parking spaces
or removing any parking spaces as part
of the project. And we're
not, again, changing any,
any connections to the, to
route 16 or to route 1 35.
That is probably the
majority of the summary.
I think that we can open discussion.
I guess the only other thing I'd
mention is we did get comments from the
municipal light plant fire department
and engineering light plant and fire
department had no issue with this.
Engineering had a few comments that
they just requested that we provide some
supplemental information, which we've
done today. So everyone seems to be,
to be on board. So again, no growth
and it's a reduction in square footage,
so it's really not a traffic
generating project. So.
So the only thing, Lisa, I I just
wanted to clarify on the sidewalk.
So typically for P S I,
we would look at the adjoining
sidewalks within 600 feet.
So obviously with the college
campuses it's a little bit unique.
So Justin actually went above and beyond
and really did an evaluation on the
exterior of the parcel
of the campus along 1 35,
most of the, you know,
three quarters of the site looking
at 1 35 along lessen road down to
Washington Street. He did an
evaluation of all those sidewalks.
The only comments we
potentially could have,
and I think this map is
super helpful, Justin,
cause it leads exactly to my
comment is that, you know,
when in Justin's analysis and in the
review by beta, it was just that,
there are a few intersections
that you could focus on as a
recommendation to the planning
board to add the ADA ramping
which would be largely at
1 35 in the college drive,
or potentially at
the pedestrian signalization at Washington
Street. But given the,
the significant area distance to 600 feet,
typically we're looking at that within
the particular RightWay to the 600
feet immediately adjoining the land.
So that it's pretty far
away. W it was the comment,
it's certainly something we
could highlight for planning
if the board so chose,
but I think it's a little greater
than P s I initially intends
because this is the college campus that
has a parcel of significant acreage.
So I just wanted to raise that point.
And then the only other thing
that we can clarify, Justin,
is that part of the
application, and Michelle,
we notice some inconsistencies
with regards to the services
provided by the M W
R T A.
So they have ramped up some of their
services in terms of our access to some
public transportation, which
is just an improvement.
So that's even above and beyond what
we, we currently have. And so, you know,
offline we can maybe set up a meeting
to just educate the college on,
on the new services that M W R T A
has as well as the fact that M B T A
is now on a clock face schedule
for the commuter rail services. So,
so that's just an additional
improvement actually in terms of
exterior transportation in
the immediate vicinity. So,
you know, happy to answer
questions from the board,
but I did just wanna call and
the map is really helpful.
So if that's something we wanted
to forward to the recommendation,
it would really be looking at
adding and the board's aware of the,
the a d a plates that we've had
on actually a large lot of our
psis in more recent time because
it's been a change in infrastructure
requirement. So as soon
as the road's touched,
which we actually don't have
we'd need mass co t approval for the,
the section on 1 35 1 Route 1 35,
which is under Mass cot
jurisdiction or Washington Street.
But, you know, so that's
just one potential.
If we were gonna put any recommendation
in it would be to add those, I think.
And, and let me just, I can tell you the,
my apologies, my.
Yeah, and those just while you're,
while you're looking that up too,
I was doing a takeoff, so like the,
from our project to the end
of College road where that
meets 1 35 just for, for reference,
it's about 2300 feet away.
Yeah. So when you make, when
you mention that 600 foot right,
we're only really looking at that
because the property is that big.
We're we're really dead, dead set
in the middle of the property.
And I think the other one was about 1300
somewhere that range just to route 16.
Yeah, it was closer to 1300 feet.
Yeah. So I mean the, the
three intersection, if,
if we were gonna make a recommendation,
they were looking at Western Road,
at Central College Road, at Central
and College Road at Washington,
those three particular locations.
But I just note the difference,
the distance, excuse me to
Justin's point, it it's,
what are those instances too,
where the information was provided?
So we were gonna do the review.
Hola, did you have a question?
Did, so I, I did notice the,
the curb reveals and that comment,
and I did recently take a,
a little bit of a walk
in Walsey Square with a
a, a young student I've been working
with on mobility who does have mobility
impairments and vision
impairments. And, you know,
the conversation that I
had with him was at the,
the bright markers are really helpful.
So, you know, there, there is a,
a need and a use for them. But one
of the things I wanted to ask about,
on page three of seven,
third paragraph to the bottom,
it's talking about Central
Street and College Road.
And there it's saying it's observed that
there was a ramp on the eastern side
that has a noticeable curb reveal on
the roadway that's not convenient for
travel by a wheelchair. Can you explain
that more to me, Megan? What kind of,
what are we talking about and what are
the alternatives for someone who is
traveling by a wheelchair
in that area or that,
that jumped out to me as being different
from the other items that were raised?
Sorry, what what street? I'm sorry,
Colette, I might have an image of it.
Central Street and College Road.
I street side of college road.
I have, I have an, I have an
image that I can project If you,
if you could stop sharing for one moment,
which might just clarify that
this is an image that Beta had
just had, oh sorry, is it up?
So this is college road at Central.
So this is that area where it's
the, the curb comes to grade.
Sorry, I'll just see if I can, I can't
really shift it. You can see sort of the,
to the northern section as well,
rather than having the a d
you know how it tends to be
a three square sort of down
with the, with the plate.
But I I I think it was saying that
that curb reveal was more troublesome
than the other areas that
they were identifying.
And so I'm wondering if
that should be elevated.
There is certainly,
there's a, a lip there.
It looks like I can
steal the screen again.
Try again Justin. Sorry. Yep.
You can see it in, in street view the,
the lip that's there. So I think there,
there were certainly some
deficiencies, you know,
a few deficiencies that were noted
in the sidewalk inventory that
would be better served being
fixed. I think the, you know,
the question is, is it part of
this project and should it be,
you know, should it be part of this
project? Cause I don't know, you know,
if that's necessarily
related. I think that's up to,
I'm assuming that's up to the board
to, to decide. But that's the,
that's the image there. You can
kind of see the, the drop off. Yep.
Yeah, if I could, if I could just
jump in really quickly. You know,
we're super committed to accessibility
on campus. We've done our own,
we've been improving accessibility
both in buildings and site pathways and
parking lots across campus. So I'm,
I'm just really interested and thankful
to hear some of these comments because
we have a means to definitely
address some of these things.
like I'm not sure this project has to
be the means to get to the ends here.
So I'm super interested in
continued conversation and hearing
some of this seems like kind of low
hanging fruit and I think it's something
that like, I'm surprised I,
I would've loved to have addressed
this like before this project. So I'm,
I'm super open to it.
I just dunno like that,
that this project should be the vehicle
in which we're trying to a approach and,
and handle these things. And I'm happy
if that's the way you deem it necessary.
But I, I just, I'm like,
I'm super interested and I think we have
some ways to address some of these low
hanging fruit issues. So it's,
it's helpful feedback. Thank you
I, I honestly, I wanna be sure
I'm not missing something.
We have a building in the middle
of a college campus that is
going to get smaller for the
same use and it seems to me a
conversation here going on about,
I I don't, I don't know why
we haven't taken the vote.
I I I think that, that
Michelle is, is right.
I I think if we just go to the college
and talk to 'em about a few issues like
this, that they would be responsive. But
to me this is a no-brainer. I, i, I don't,
I I wanna make sure I'm
not missing something.
So, so that's why I'm calling
it out with the fact that we,
it's sort of like too
much information and,
and the best way possible he went
above and beyond and really did
the whole parcel. So, so we looked at it,
but that's why I said the map is
actually really helpful. So, I mean,
it's something that, again,
I totally agree we can work with
the college on in in the future.
I was just raising it
because we, we did have it
modestly peer review because there's
not a whole lot to look at to the exact
point that you, you said Tom,
so we did just note a
couple deficiencies that
are there that could be a recommendation
if the board wanted to add them.
And we are just the
recommendation body and the,
and the planning board
would be the ultimate
permit grant authority. But I, I
don't disagree with you at all,
but I felt it from a transparency
standpoint to raise it.
Yeah, I I think it's really useful to
have those things highlighted. I don't,
I don't know that we're necessarily
planning, you know, I don't think Tom,
that we're, we're delaying a vote.
I, I didn't mean to say that
I, I, that was, you know,
I was trying to sort of make a point and
I I didn't mean there's always room for
discussion, you know, according to
what the Burke board wants to raise.
And, and I don't mean to suggest
otherwise, but I, I'm reminded
about the discussion about handicapped
curb cuts in the Honeywell school
and when I was on the school building
committee and the controversy that rose
and the expense that was added
to that project. Well beyond,
I think what the scope should
have been for the work.
So ag again, i,
I certainly don't in any way mean to
suggest any disrespect for the amount of
deliberation the board
wishes to put into this, but,
but I just think that, that the,
the college is demonstrating a
willingness to engage in these kinds of
conversations. I think they are important.
I think that is a good example of
a curb cut that ought to be fixed.
But I don't think we wanna set a precedent
that will attach to a project like
So first I think this is a really
exciting project and I'm glad to see the
investment in a health center on campus.
I think I generally agree with Tom that
it would be nice to improve the curb
cuts. I, I don't have a problem
pointing it out to planning, but I,
I don't see it as
kind of fundamental to
moving this project forward.
My question really is
about the 33 parking spaces
and is I, I guess I wondered
when the curb cut thing came up.
Is that because you're
moving the parking spaces
across the street from the campus?
the 33 was actually just a combination
of the parking that's out there around
the building today.
And it was a temporary impact because we
don't know where construction layout's
gonna be. We gotta work
with the contractor.
Those are temporary spaces that would
be relocated and they'd be absorbed into
the, into the college.
There's no plan to do anything
outside the limits of the college.
And that's just knowing
that the contractor's gonna
need to lay down somewhere.
So as soon as the building's
back in the permanent condition,
those spaces are right back to what
they are today. But there's actually,
there's contractor parking
on the campus. There's,
we've done parking studies in the
past and there's usually, you know,
a surplus of spaces of somewhere in
around on the range of 10% of the,
the parking capacity overall,
which is, well, more than the,
the 33 spaces there. So we're not,
we're not anticipating any issue with,
I know one of the things we always hear
is there's no parking for the residents
that want to, you know,
those few spots that are kind
catches catch can for people who
wanna walk the lake. And so I.
Yeah, this wouldn't be in that of the
lake would be protected. Yeah. Okay.
Super. Thank you so much.
So congratulations on this.
Yeah, I, I think we, we
probably ready for a vote I,
or for a motion anyway. I,
I will just say I do think it's
important to highlight these
accessibility issues for the college. I,
I personally don't think they need to be
in the form of any kind of requirement,
but I, I think, I mean, I'm grateful
to Justin I for raising this. I think,
you know, we're,
we're all developing greater
sensitivity to accessibility issues and,
and I'm sure the college
is way more sensitive than,
than anybody else on this issue,
knowing that you have a diversity of
students on your campus and are trying to
accommodate them. Yeah.
Can I just, before you take the vote,
just let you know that we've worked
for two years with the Massachusetts
Architectural Access Board.
We've implemented a memorandum of
understanding with them for an accessible
housing plan on our campus.
It's an approach to our campus
that provides all the accessibility
that you would find, but it spreads
it out throughout the campus,
throughout our entire portfolio. So
it was a two year planning effort.
It's a 10 year buildup plan that's just
for our residence halls. As I mentioned,
we have an entire accessibility
upgrade effort through the campus
roadways and parking. So again,
I want you to tell you all,
like we're extremely committed to this
and really appreciate and love hearing
these areas that could
make big impact, you know,
in small ways and we'd love to do it. My,
my concern is that particularly with
the timing that would be needed with,
with Route 1 35 in the state, if,
if any recommendation goes forward to
have to do this as part of this project,
it's gonna kill this project
and we'd love to do this work.
I have no objection to it.
I think the timing alone and we
have means we have resources,
we have accessibility funds, particularly
for these kinds of efforts. So I'm,
I'm really thankful for
hearing what they are. Again,
I just don't think the
this project is the means,
the right means to get this kind of
stuff done. And I fear that. Yeah.
I think we're in agreement
there, Michelle. So I, yeah,
nobody's suggesting at this point that
these be made requirements for this
project. I, I,
my only suggestion was just that we
transmit this information to you in some
way so that you can be working on it,
on whatever timeline seems appropriate.
But I I don't think it should
hold up this project personally.
I don't think anybody on the
board is saying that. Right. Okay.
And somebody can, can
contradict me if they want.
Okay. Yes. Ready for the
motion. Thank you, Beth.
Move to approve the recommendation
to the planning board,
subject to any modifications
approved by the second
Colette. Aye Tom? Aye.
Beth Aye. And Mara Aye.
And I vote Aye as well.
Okay. Thank you very much. Thank
you. Thank you Justin. Thank you.
Thank you Michelle for
being here. Thank you. Aye,
okay, I've lost my agenda now.
Can somebody tell me what's
next? The union contracts.
Union contracts, thank you.
But my fan seems to have
reordered my papers here. Yes.
So we have both the library, oops, sorry,
just rolling here.
The Wealthy Free Library Staff
Association and the Wealthy Free Library.
I just wanna get the name
right. Supervisors Association.
they are identical in format except
for they are two distinct unions.
And this agreement would be
for a three year term under
we would be adding Juneteenth as
we've done with all of the unions.
We would be establishing a
new cost of living adjustment,
4% in f y 24,
3% in f y 25, 3% in f y 26.
In addition to that,
sorry, I'm just scrolling.
We would eliminate in
f y 25, I'm sorry,
in f y 26,
the 15 cent differential
for employees that
exist in a, a contract,
a portion of a contract.
We would also we're agreeing
to modify the definition of
We're allowing for additional
executive meeting with council and for,
for the union members.
And in addition to that,
we would be creating a
new longevity schedule.
Prior years the library didn't
have longevity and until 15 years,
which was inconsistent with the
majority of our other unions,
which commenced the 10 years,
we would commence the 10 years and
establish a new pay schedule for
that, which would also be inclusive
of our part-time employees.
And so, sorry, I'm just scrolling up.
The f f y 24 settlement costs
for this would be inclusive
of five F M D employees
who are in this union.
But because they're custodians under
the jurisdiction of the facilities
director, total cost out is $97,458.
I also would just note that
the, the library associations,
it is very unique in terms
of the budgeting for the
library that any expense,
personal or expense has to also include
a component for materials costs.
And so this is also inclusive
of 13% increase of material
costs towards the library.
And so we'd be looking for the
board's approval to enter into the
memorandum memorandum of understanding
for this tentative agreement for both
I'll just mention for the benefit of
the public that this is also a subject
we've discussed exhaustively
on more than one occasion
in executive session.
So I'm not sure that there are
any questions or comments from,
from the board at this point. But if
there are, please raise your hand.
Okay. May we have the motion please, Beth?
Move to approve the memorandum
of understanding with the
Wellesley Free Library
Staff Association and the Wellesley
Free Library Supervisor Association
included in our Friday night
mail and outlined by Ms. Job.
Second. Beth Aye. Ann Mara.
Aye. Colette Aye. Tom? Aye. And aye.
Vote as well. Okay. I found my agenda.
Next item is to discuss the draft policy
on a subcommittee policy. So Megan,
I don't know if you wanna introduce that.
Sure. Hold on. Let me just
pull up my notes here.
But so Colette and I had been discussing,
Colette had actually done a, a, a
fairly substantial review of, hey,
here's the policies and we really should
be going back and evaluating some of
them. One, just because of
the duration of time and two,
as as we continue to
evaluate emerging trends in
for our financial policies.
And so as part of that,
we started reviewing how other towns
and departments handle the creation
of policies. And the school
committee CRE has created,
the Wealthy school committee has created
a policy subcommittee to then manage
that for both review of existing policies
as well as for the creation of new
We did a little bit of research and
also identified several select board
policies of the similar nature and
wanted to start the conversation with the
board as to whether the, the town
would wanna consider the creation.
So it's a policy for a subcommittee
policy for a subcommittee on
so that we can start essentially
a systematic review of our,
of our policies and then have it
in place on a continual basis.
And, you know,
as we continue to explore different
initiatives and with the eye and lens of
d e i,
it's something that we really sh would
be encouraging many departments to look
at that you,
we really need to be looking at all
of our PO policies with a new lens.
And so there's many policies
we just, we haven't looked,
looked at in many years
or aren't following. And,
and so perhaps it's either you have to
revert to following it or we really,
our new systematic approach
is more appropriate.
So we just wanted to begin to broach
the subject with the board. Collette,
I don't know if you wanna
add anything to that.
That's, that's pretty much,
you know, where I came from,
we had been doing some policy
work and as we went through
some things recently, for example,
when we were looking at
our investment policy,
I read through the policy and noted it
had a note in there to be reviewed on a
regular basis. And I thought
that was important to pick up.
We recently a adjusted a
number of policies for public
comment and there's gonna
be some more revisions coming out on
that. And it made me sort of think about,
well, what are we doing
with our other policies?
And so I read through the policy
handbook in preparation for our
retreat and noticed that there
was a lot of policy work done in
maybe 2018, something like that. But,
you know, given covid and other items
that's maybe taken a little bit of a hold.
So this is a good time for
us to look at that again,
but find a more systematic
approach to it to be just more eff
efficient and effective and making sure
that we do it on a systematic basis and
have a a, a way to make it a bit
of an easier lift for the board.
So that was really the
genesis of this project.
Yeah, I I I support this idea.
I think being systematic about
it would be really helpful.
I know it has come up in conversation
over the past year, you know,
various policies that we
needed to look at, at again or,
you know, things we've talked where we
talked about creating a new policy. It,
it, it definitely is worth having.
I I think it's worth having a,
a slightly more streamlined
process so that there's a,
that we have a starting point, you know,
that's how I view the subcommittee as
creating some kind of starting point so
that then the board can move forward,
make whatever changes they
want, hold public hearings.
But, you know,
the a a little bit of a headstart
has been given to the board and,
and furthermore, the idea of tracking
all of the policies so that we know,
particularly the ones that
we use a lot, ought to get a,
a pretty systematic review so
that we know they aren't just,
we aren't, we're rethinking
them in the context of,
of current events and current conditions.
And it was helpful to talk with,
I talked with two members of the policy
subcommittee on our school committee to
see, you know, how how do you come to the
notion of what you're going to review.
And it's driven by a number of things.
And that's what I included in
the documents in our packet.
But it's either a policy we use a lot
or it's something that you see coming
because of your,
your industry body is telling you you
should really think about policies for
library materials, for example.
Or it's a policy that they,
they know that they might
not be complying with.
So they want to look at it and see does
it need to be changed or do we need to
change our policies to deal
with that? Or it's an interest,
a matter of interest to the community
and they feel that someone in the
community has brought it to
them for review and address.
So that to me was really helpful because
this is something they've had in place
for quite some time and you know, they,
they work on it on an ongoing basis.
So, one thing I just
wanna add, I I did put in
under the applicability that I,
I think there might be a policy that the
whole board wants to work on together,
you know, that it, and you know,
there might be a situation
where something comes up and,
and so I think it's important that we
have that as an exception that, you know,
the whole select board might say,
actually we all wanna
participate somehow. I,
I guess it would have to be in a public
meeting in the drafting of a policy or
at least the, the early discussions
of the drafting of a policy.
I can certainly imagine that happening. So
that was just one little
addition that I made. Tom.
I certainly support this idea and I
want to thank Megan and Colette and
particularly Colette for I understand
to be the very detailed look at the
policies that she undertook.
You know, I think that,
that we may need to prioritize the
order in which we look at these,
but I I think we have not done this
in so long that a really comprehensive
look at all our policies is
Whether it's as simple as selectman
to select board or as complicated as
ensuring that we have an understanding
and incorporate court decisions recently
on the public's right to
comment to us and our,
the restrictions on our
ability to impose guidelines on
These are all things that I think we
need to go back and think through.
There may be new policies
as you pointed out,
and some that can be streamlined by being
combined as someone pointed out as we
did with some of our alcohol policy.
So I think it's a great opportunity
coming out of covid with increased public
participation, going back to
in-person meetings, just in general,
I think an increase in the sort of
energy and town government that it's a,
a perfect time to be looking at
this and I certainly support this.
Any other thoughts? Ann Mara?
Yeah, so I,
I really appreciate the idea of going
back through all our policies and I think
that most of our boards do have some kind
of process for going through policies
on an annual basis. So I
appreciate this thought here.
I guess my, my question is,
I guess I'm a little bit
frustrated because, you know,
I've now been on this board for
two years and you know, we have,
there are a lot of really important
things that we need to be working on and
this is the first time I've ever heard
of creating a subcommittee and I think
there are other things that
are important that we should be
spending more time on.
And we have an entire retreat coming
up that we're gonna talk about policy.
So I would've loved to have taken this
time at this meeting to talk about
something more important to me and to the,
I think to the town and, and we don't
ever use that time in these meetings.
So I I I do think policies are important,
but there are means for getting work
done. They're not the work of the board,
they're just the means.
And I'm gonna quote Albert Einstein
who said bureaucracy is the death of
achievement. I would like
these meetings, our meetings,
our public meetings to have more
meat to them and talk about things
that are more important. I mean,
right now 50% of people in Massachusetts
ha pay more than 30% of their
income in rent. I mean,
we have a real housing problem and
we have a community that doesn't
understand that because we
don't talk about it as a board.
We talk about it individually, we talk
about it in the housing task force,
but we don't really share
with the community the
challenges that our residents
and the rest of Massachusetts are facing.
And I think we need to talk
about this on a regular basis.
We need to bring it to people's attention.
So I I appreciate doing this in
a subcommittee. Yeah, go for it.
I don't wanna be on it,
but I do wanna approve policies
once the subcommittee works on them.
I just would rather,
we were talking about this at the retreat
that we set up to talk about policies
and we're using this time for something
different. That's my only thought.
Okay. Any further comments?
All right. Could I just clarify,
we're talking about a policy that
all policies are reviewed by a designated
set of select board
members in a subcommittee,
which is a public session,
right? Yeah. This is a public,
a public body that meets
and takes minutes Yeah.
And does it in a more
systematic way than what,
and I, I really appreciate Colette
going through and doing the,
the thorough inventory of our policies.
I thought, and I, so I guess
it's, the question is, I think,
do we wanna change our procedure,
which our normal procedure,
as long as I've been on the board,
is that when an issue arises
where either the policy needs to
be looked at or we need a new policy,
someone works on it and designated
to a standing committee. So this
would be our only standing committee,
our standing subgroup, is that right?
And they would get all the policies.
Yeah. So the idea is that any policy
that was being reviewed, well I,
I think there are two major
functions of the subcommittee.
One is when it comes up that we
need a new one, a new policy,
the subcommittee would draft it and
the other function would be to track
the current policies just
to make sure they're,
they're getting a fresh look periodically,
they're not just sort
of sitting on a shelf.
And you know,
in particular the policies that
govern some of our core functions like
our, our financial policies,
those would obviously be I, and I mean,
I will just say that in the course
of the time I've been on the board,
we've enacted several,
a number of new policies
always with the sort of caveat
that we'll revisit this policy down the
road and sort of see how it's going.
And, and we actually don't have
a mechanism for doing that. So I,
I think it's, it's just a very helpful
Mechanism really to, to make sure that,
that we are doing that and that we're
visiting things that revisiting things
that we thought were made sense to
make sure that once they're in place,
they actually do. So that's,
that's the idea. But it, it's two
members of the board is what we're,
what the policy is proposing.
Okay. Well we can certainly, we, you know,
generally the board likes to have a
couple of discussions of things before we
vote. So we can certainly pick
it back up at the retreat.
And if no one has anything else to say,
I will adjourn the meeting. Do
we have a town hall update? Yeah,
we have one more update. Oh, I
beg your pardon. That's right. I,
I'm looking at the, I'm not looking at
the adjusted agenda, so sorry about that.
So I think, and, and Megan, you
know, may have some comments too.
We had an opportunity, well
first of all, let me go back. I,
I think everyone's aware
that with regard to a,
a tour of town hall for safety reasons,
the contractor has made it
clear that that has to wait.
The central staircase is
being demolished and it really
is not an environment which anyone
can go in except for the contractors.
They will let us know when,
when that's no longer the issue
and we can arrange for a tour.
The principles of Schwartz Silver
responsible for the job had a chance
to go through the
building with our owners,
project manager Glenn Remick,
to discuss a number of
the deficiencies in the,
in the building and to
reconsider or to consider
a new, some of the solutions that
we had considered originally.
And they have gone through
with a preliminary report on
recommendations that they would make with
regard to things like the woodwork and
the finish on the, on the wood, on some
of the irregularities of the brick,
if not the changes in
color and discoloration,
different brick that was used
to close up arch doorways for
example. And we're
working through, not we,
but they are P V C and F M
D are working through with
Schwartz silver, what will be a,
a report that P B C will
consider use of basis to look at
further changes that need to be made in
the project and how we're solving some
of these problems.
One interesting thing that came up was
the case and the weights and measures
and we all remember sort of
what we went through discovering
exactly what that was and
it's it's purpose as an item
in, in Wellesley,
one of the discussions we had
was where to relocate that,
where locate that in the, in the building.
It's not as simple as just putting it
back where it was not only because it
really isn't consistent with
the feel of that, of that lobby,
but it would require
not insignificant additional
work to shore up that location
because of the weight of that cabinet.
So one consideration is,
is two different items.
One is to see whether we
can perhaps from C P C seek
funds to refinish that
cabinet and to bring it back
in terms of what it looks,
what its exterior looks like.
And the other is to look for
a location on the lower level
in a location where there would be some
ability to highlight that cabinet as
something that you saw when
you went in on that level to
visit one of those departments.
So that would not present the
problem of having to shore up
the support because it would be on
a level that could handle the weight
of that, of that case.
So I know that we had,
the board was engaged in how we
handled a lot of items that were
in town hall.
This is certainly an important
one in terms of the town and
I just wanted to raise for the,
for the board an awareness of
what we were looking at with that
particular item in particular
and the potential for it to
be improved in terms of its external
appearance and to be located safely
in a highlighted area on the lower level.
So Tom, you'll bring that
back to us to discuss later?
Yes. Yeah, we, we will, once there is a,
we, we shouldn't be too long,
but once there's an awareness of sort
of what the best area would be on the
lower level because some work will have
to be done in order to create the space
for it, we'll bring that back
with regard to the
improvements or changes
in the scope of the actual
work on the interior. You know,
a budget will have to be developed
and of course this is a P V C project,
so that'll be a discussion
that P V C will be having about
the scope of any or changes
in the scope of the work,
what the implications are,
how that weighs against the
contingencies that we have in place
and whether these are advisable
and whether they would
ultimately be approved by
P B C.
Can I just ask you in
case anyone inquires,
why is the floor not able to handle
something it's been handling for so
It, it hasn't, correct
me if I'm wrong Megan,
but there was evidence that
there was a significant support
underneath that cabinet
where it sat in the lobby.
So the issue where it sat, so there
was a support and there was a,
a different platform that the weight
was distributed on underneath that when
they removed it, there's holes on the,
a hole on the floor that has to be
removed and it's part of where it was
as part of the new H V A C system.
And so if we were gonna put
it back at that location, it,
which is not opportune based upon
the design we would have to remove
and I forget what type of
equipment it is that, that.
That's enough of an answer cuz we're
changing something else. Structure.
Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Because when we removed
that platform, as you might recall,
you know, that didn't match the tile
floor. And so when we removed that,
that those are some of the things
that we found and that was being
converted anyway because
of the H B C. But,
so there continues to be a hole there
that we're, we're actually working on.
But Megan and I were sensitive to the
discussion that took place when this all
of these items in town hall came
up and we wanted to be sure that we
brought this one right back to the
board and that you were all aware of the
and possible relocation and
outcome for this particular item.
And that in,
in considering this we're I think trying
to demonstrate that we value the item.
We're just trying to figure out a
way to put it back in town hall in
good shape in a place that doesn't
require a significant additional expense
in terms of support.
and I guess the other thought is too is
it sort of came to me in a discussion
of, well if we did wanna
refurbish it, it's historic,
we could maybe seek
some funds from cpc it,
would the board be amenable to me at
least starting that conversation with,
with cpc? I.
I I certainly would Megan.
Cause I get the sense from
listening to their discussions,
especially around the historic
opportunities they have that they would
like to have more opportunities to fund
items in that area. So if it's a good fit,
I would certainly be interested in at
least asking them if they would like to
join with us on that.
Hope if we do, I, sorry,
I would be remiss if I didn't say
that we have not talked to them yet,
so I don't want anyone from C P C
listening and thinking that there's any
assumption that they will fund it
or presumption that they should.
That's why Megan's saying, can we at
least have a preliminary conversation?
I, I would just suggest if we're gonna
do that, that the funds also include
some, you know,
a little bit of research and a plaque
that describes what the thing is because I
know it, it wa you know,
wa wasn't until we talked about it that
I had any idea what those things were or
the historical significance of
them or anything else. So I,
if we're going to go to the
trouble of refurbishing it,
maybe C P C would give just enough
money to provide a little research and
composition of something that
could educate the public.
And the building of the,
the, I forget his title, Mr.
Waitson measures gave us a very nice
writeup at the time that we could probably
build off of.
He, he did actually, that
was very quick, very.
Helpful. I mean he,
he had done a little historical
overview that was pretty excellent.
So Megan as the CPC liaison,
I can work with you on that.
Terrific. And I think Abby had
actually, I will look at my recollection
was that she had preliminary started
like mapping out some, some of that.
So I'll do
to find out someone to get a cost
estimate, so that'd be great. Anmar.
Okay. Am I forgetting anything else?
No. Okay. And so now we are adjourned.
Call to Order
Executive Director’s Update · Announcements · Discuss and Vote Minutes · Vote Gift Acceptance
Discuss and Vote Joining Class Action PFAS Litigation
Interview and Vote Interim Fire Chief · Todd Germain
nterview and Vote Interim Fire Chief - David Soar
Discuss and Vote PSI Recommendation PSI-23-01 Wellesley College Health and Counseling Center
Discuss and Vote Tentative Agreements on Union Contracts · Wellesley Free Library Staff Association · Wellesley Free Library Supervisor Association
Discuss Draft Policy Subcommittee Policy
Liaison Update – Town Hall Interior