The Plympton Board of Selectmen met virtually on Monday, March 28. Selectmen Chair Christine Joy said that they began the meeting with a brief executive session during which they secured Town Administrator Liz Dennehy’s services for another three years. The selectmen also voted to appoint Brian Kling as Animal Inspector through April 30, 2023.
There was a use of town property request made by resident Siobhan Green for the Old Townhouse. “I’ve known Siobhan for a really long time and admire her work with meditation,” Selectman Mark Russo said. He continued, “I think there is this question that we haven’t fully addressed yet on how we will decide who might use the Old Townhouse and who not but in terms of the smaller question of is this a reasonable thing to consider, I can certainly give high marks to the person who has made the application.” Selectman John Traynor said he was a little bit nervous for insurance purposes. “I’m not against it, but I would like to see us clarify and see that the town is protected,” he said. Joy said she agreed with both Russo and Traynor. She said she was wondering if there should be a fee associated with such a request. The Selectmen discussed developing some policy around use of the building. Traynor suggested having the Cultural Council become involved with the event. “We need to have a process, they’ve come forward; we want to support them, but we need to have a process in place,” Traynor said. The Selectmen agreed to check in with legal before proceeding.
Traynor said that he wanted to communicate the things he has been working on individually. Traynor said that he recently setup a meeting with the new Sysco Regional President Jane Brett, State Representative Kathy LaNatra, and the Executive Director of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Amy Naples. Traynor said that himself, Dennehy, and Fire Chief Steve Silva had already met with Brett prior to the meeting he arranged. “It was a great meeting; these are the things I’m trying to do as I go around town; I do updates with the Council on Aging every other month…I do that same thing every other month with the Upland Club’s Board of Directors; I have done it in the past with the library,” Traynor told the Selectmen. He said that he wanted to openly discuss these things with the other Selectmen as he is representing the three of them during these meetings. He further said he wanted to keep the public abreast of what he was doing.
Traynor also said that he met recently with Jay Pateakos, the Vice President of Business Development for the south region of Mass Development. “Mass Development is a quasi-State government association, much like the MBTA, that tries to work with towns that are economically strapped, shall we say, to find funding for projects that they might not be able to afford,” Traynor explained. Traynor said that he showed Pateakos around the town. “I don’t know that there is an opportunity here, but it can’t hurt to at least be talking to them because there may be grants and funds that somehow, we may qualify for as a small town,” he said.
There was some discussion about how to best address these kinds of actions taken behind the scenes by the Board of Selectmen. Traynor was in favor of making them a part of the meeting agendas, but Joy was hesitant as she said due to open meeting law there really could not be any ambiguity on the agenda. “My fear is that this could be seen as campaigning,” Joy said. Traynor said he disagreed saying, “I don’t see this as campaigning at all; I think its an update to the residents on the Selectmen’s work and what they’re supposed to be working on,” Traynor said. Joy said she was fine with putting specific items on the agenda.
Dennehy said they were well underway with the budget process and told the Selectmen that she would alert them when they planned to have a meeting with the Finance Committee to discuss further. Dennehy also said that they would hold the annual joint meeting between the Selectmen and the Finance Committee during the last Monday in April to vote their recommendations on various Town Meeting articles.
Dennehy told the Selectmen that she placed the order for the telephone pole mounted flags that will run from the center of town to the Old Townhouse. Dennehy said that there is some funding available for the project and that the Highway Department has the capacity to place the necessary brackets. Dennehy said they should be ready by Memorial Day. She said that Traynor recommended reaching out to the Brockton Mayor to find out what kind of a flag policy they have in place.
Briggette Martins told Selectmen they were planning a Memorial Day Parade for the first time in three years. Traynor asked if they could get Sauchuck Farm in Plympton to bring tractors for the kids to ride. Martins said they are also looking into having antique vehicles brought in for display. Joy asked Martins if there would be new flags on all the poles. Dennehy said that the poles at the Town Green are finished, and new flags have been received as part of the project. Martins said she was going to reach out to scouts to see if they can help with mulching and hanging wreaths.
Joy said that there was correspondence from Cape Cod Getaway requesting use of town roads on June 25 and 26 for a multiple sclerosis bike ride. “I think we’ve done it annually and it’s been fine,” Russo said of the event. The Selectmen voted to approve the event provided they get all necessary sign offs from various department heads.
As always, the Selectmen ended their meeting with their rants and raves. Russo said his rave was for the Town Administrator position in general and Dennehy’s work as such. He said that when he first started as a Selectmen a decade ago the position did not exist. Joy said she was in complete agreement saying, “the quality of the work that she does and the way that she represents us is top notch and so professional.” Joy said that her rant was for the state of the world at large and said that it offers her perspective on how “lucky and blessed” she is to live in a little town like Plympton that doesn’t have as many of the challenges that are faced by many other places. Traynor’s rave was for the volunteers in town. “Just the sheer number of people that are willing to put in the hours, no pay… we don’t always agree but we have a wonderful town here,” he said. “I’m just totally delighted that my roots are here; my children are here,” he continued.