HALIFAX — The Halifax Board of Selectmen reorganized Tuesday, May 28, the first regularly scheduled meeting attended by Gordon C. Andrews, who was elected to the board earlier this month. The longest serving member, Troy Garron, was voted Chair for the 10th time, and acted comfortable in that role, asserting himself and speaking more often than he has in the previous year. This is only the second time in his 30-year tenure as Selectman that there has been an all-male board, according to Garron. The board voted Tom Millias vice-chair, now in his fourth year as a Selectman and voted Andrews as clerk.
Andrews came into his own and was asking frequent questions about some of the board’s latest as well as longest standing issues, from Rufus, the dog ordered euthanized, to the ongoing negotiations with Fieldstone Farms. His wife and parents were in the audience to support him at his first meeting, which was routine and brief.
Rufus’ euthanasia decision appealed
Rufus the bulldog, owned by Thomas Wilson, of Holmes Street, has received one final chance at life.
A clerk-magistrate’s ruling supporting the board’s April 9 order to have the dog euthanized as a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition following a dog-on-dog attack in March is being appealed by Wilson to a Plymouth District Court judge, said Town Administrator Charlie Seelig. A civil hearing will occur June 7.
The court conducted a hearing May 9 and reviewed the board’s procedures and findings. In a written ruling, Plymouth District Court Assistant Clerk-Magistrate Brendan Barnes found that Wilson had filed to offer “any evidence” that the selectmen’s decision was made in bad faith. He also found that there was proper cause: Wilson admitted the dog had aggressive tendencies and there had been two violent incidents in as many years’ time.
Barnes also wrote, “the physical appearance of the dog” buttressed his decision.
Barnes affirmed the Board’s ruling to euthanize Rufus, and now Wilson is exercising his right to have the decision reviewed by a judge.
The decision was handed down May 13
Empty Wage and Personnel Board
Melinda Tarsi, who ran for selectman and sits on the Finance Committee, has left the Wage and Personnel board due to a personal conflict, and as no members of the public currently sit on the board, there are currently three non-town employee openings.
When there are not enough non-town employee members for the board to have a quorum of two, the town bylaws require that the Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen send a liaison to the board so that it is able to function.
Right now, according to Seelig, the board is technically empty.
The Selectmen are taking their time in appointing a member to the often-unpopular board, which former members report as difficult work.
Andrews noted that the town’s biggest expense is its employees but was hesitant to serve, pointing out his obligations to both the Silver Lake Regional School Committee and the Halifax Elementary School Committee.
He said he’d rather serve as the Selectmen’s liaison to the school committees before he served on Wage and Personnel.
When Millias asked if he wanted to be the board’s liaison directly, he said, “Not really, but I will.”
Garron cautioned Andrews to take his time in deciding if he really wanted to take on the position, and recommended he wait.
No one from the board was appointed to the committee.
According to the town’s website, “The three-member Wage and Personnel Board oversees the administration of the [t]own’s Wage and Personnel [bylaw] which covers the wage and benefits for all employees of the [t]own other than elected officials, School Department employees and employees covered under collective bargaining agreements.”
New town website
The town’s new website, according to Seelig, will be finished later this spring, although he will not give a precise date as to when the site will go online, noting a number of factors that need to go into the site before it goes online.
The roughly $5,000 website upgrade is in its design phase now.
The upgrade was necessary because the town’s website provider, Virtual Town Hall was bought out by a company called CivicPlus, and CivicPlus would no longer support the product Virtual Town Hall had provided.
The current town website is functional, but slow and cluttered.
• The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Halifax Board of Selectmen is Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room of the Town Hall.