MARBLEHEAD — The Select Board voted unanimously to reappoint all volunteer positions at a meeting Wednesday night.
The group voted on 13 regular-business agenda items before an open discussion about the latest draft of the policy and procedure document. This discussion eventually led to the board deciding to resume the reappointment of volunteer-board positions, which was temporarily suspended in June after Board member Bret Murray suggested waiting in order to thoroughly review reappointment policies.
The policy and procedure discussion lasted nearly two hours. Board members discussed the importance of engaging volunteer boards more often, and how to best find a balance between seasoned veterans and interested newcomers on those boards.
The board suggested that it would make sense to revisit whether someone wants to continue to serve or not after six years as a volunteer. Board member Moses Grader expressed hesitation in making a six-year incumbent reapply alongside newcomers, but Chair Erin Noonan clarified that she envisions something less official.
“I was thinking there would be like a form, very simple, it would be one page,” Noonan said.
Board member Alexa Singer suggested the interest form would be less of a reapplication and more of an internal pause for a member to reflect on their future on their board.
“I think what you’re describing here with the reapplication form is pretty innocuous,” Grader said. “Maybe it does prompt some introspection on the members systematically, so they can figure out whether they want to move on or not.”
One aspect of the policy draft Grader vehemently disagreed with was the ability for the Select Board to hold interviews for volunteer positions at its discretion, as opposed to simply reappointing an incumbent.
“There’s got to be a better way to fire people,” Grader said. “And that’s what you’re doing.”
Noonan responded by saying this is solely an option for special circumstances when new interest seems especially high and needed.
“This has happened in the past,” Noonan said. “This isn’t anything new, these conversations have happened… We’re creating policy so we have to fill out the rubric of what goes on, so this is sort of just addressing the situation.”
Grader accepted those terms after further discussion, but expressed his desire to have appointment and reappointment wholly separated.
The discussion concluded with Singer suggesting the board vote to reappoint all volunteer positions effective immediately, as opposed to on Sept. 13.
“What I wanted at the time was the space to have this conversation and make sure we address some of those things, and that was really what I was looking for,” Singer said. “So at this point, I don’t see a need to wait until Sept. 13 if everyone else feels we’ve gotten far enough in the process.”
The vote passed, and the board hopes to vote on a final policy and procedure draft at its next meeting on Aug. 30.
Two of the notable pre-discussion voting items included the official renaming of Brown’s Island and the additional use of American Rescue Plan Act funds for two projects.
Resident Gene Record was the driving force behind a proposal to have Brown’s Island renamed to Crowninshield Island, and the Select Board was the final seal of approval needed to officially institute the change.
Record’s main argument was that the Crowninshield family was more responsible for the original forestation of the island than the Brown family was. The board voted unanimously to change the name.
The votes to use ARPA money on two projects were also unanimous. The first consisted of having a chart-accounts consultant transfer funds and data from the town’s old financial software to its new software for $65,000. The board voted in favor of upgrading the city’s financial software with ARPA funds at its last meeting on July 28.
The other project that was given the green light by the Select Board was repairing parts of Redd’s Pond to increase accessibility and safety. Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer explained what exactly the funds would be used for and why they are necessary.
“The ground was eroding from under the pavement and the pavement was still there creating a danger,” Kezer said. “(The) purpose of the funding would be for an engineering firm to do design work and all the permitting.”
Kezer noted that state Rep. Jenny Armini was able to secure an additional $25,000 of state funds as a supplement to the project.