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Selectmen Appoint State Hospital Redevelopment Committee and Debate Medfield Day Permit

The Medfield Board of Selectmen met Tuesday at Town Hall to discuss the following town business.

Correction (Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.): Medfield's Mediation Committee will be meeting in closed session with the mediator in the coming weeks and not DCAM regarding the mediation of cleanup at the former Medfield State Hospital. The tentative date was Tuesday, May 7 but Assistant Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler said it will not take place then and is looking to schedule the meeting during the week of May 14.

On Tuesday, the Medfield Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to appoint a Redevelopment Committee to review state data in relation to the town’s reuse options for the state hospital property.

The decision came two weeks after .

The selectmen voted to appoint the committee on condition that the applicants are willing to serve. Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said he assembled a list of volunteers who have been recommended for the committee and has reached out to several of them prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

The selectmen determined it would be best to appoint all 12 individuals on Sullivan’s list to the committee. Sullivan said six of these individuals have already agreed to serve.

The selectmen were tasked with writing a mission statement to submit to Sullivan and be distributed to the committee at its first meeting.

The next step for the State Hospital Redevelopment Committee is to finalize its members and meet with the Board of Selectmen. Members of the board will present the committee with a mission statement and task the committee with working towards that mission.

Other State Hospital News

  • Public comments to DCAM’s Phase II and Phase III reports were submitted to the state agency by the town on April 24 and an extension for the Phase IV comments has been approved to May 17.
  • SHERC recommended the selectmen appoint a person to act as chairman of the Mediation Committee for the purpose of scheduling and coordinating the first meeting. Assistant Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler was discussed as the person to serve as the acting chair until the committee appoints a new one.
  • Town's Mediation Committee expects to meet with the mediator for an introductory, closed session meeting in the coming weeks.
  • Selectmen voted to sign a letter to DCAM Commissioner Carole Cornelison requesting written confirmation that the state agency is OK with the town pursuing and/or conducting its own environmental site assessment of the property. Selectman Osler "Pete" Peterson will revise the letter before it is sent to Cornelison in order to make it more accurately state what the selectmen are requesting.
  • Selectmen acknowledged they had received highlighting his objections to DCAM's partial cleanup proposal. 
  • Selectmen acknowledged they had received letters from residents in support of a 100 percent cleanup of the state hospital site. 
  • Similar to Senator Timilty’s letter to Governor Patrick, State Representative Denise Garlick told Sullivan she was preparing a letter outlining her concerns with DCAM’s partial cleanup proposal to submit to the Governor.

Selectmen Vote 2-1 in Favor of MEMO's Request for Medfield Day Permit

Seven members of the Medfield Employers and Merchants Organization (MEMO) were present at Tuesday's meeting for their request to hold the 33rd Annual Medfield Day on Saturday, Sept. 15 after last year's request stirred debate between Peterson and his colleagues over the issue of organizations like MEMO paying or not paying the town for services it requires during events like Medfield Day.

Russ Hallisey, MEMO member and chair of Medfield Day spoke to the selectmen regarding the organization's request for a permit to hold Medfield Day. Hallisey said he submitted a letter of request and a Common Victualler permit for the Sept. 15 event with a severe weather day scheduled for Sept. 22.

Following Hallisey's request, Peterson moved that the selectmen permit the event as requested "on the basis that it be revenue neutral to the town" – which is consistent with his stance last summer regarding MEMO's event and the issue of the organization paying or not paying the town for costs of police detail and DPW services used during Medfield Day.

Selectman Mark Fisher quickly discarded Peterson's motion.

"I'm not going to go with that motion," Fisher said. "I'd prefer to grant it as we have in the past and permit Medfiel Day without any conditions."

Selectman chair Ann Thompson asked if there was a second to Fisher's motion and Peterson declined.

"I can't second that," Peterson said. "Since we've talked about this last year it's come to my attention that it will probably be in violation of conflict of interest laws by doing this ... by giving town services to a private party, you put your police chief and your superintendent of public works in danger of being cited for criminal violations. I can't second that."

Hallisey responded to Peterson's remarks, calling Peterson's discussion "not proper before the permitting process."

"You don't ask it of any other organization or any other permitting at a selectmen's meeting," Hallisey said. "This is a budgetary matter between you and your departments and all these years I'm sure they've been including in their budgets all the various community work they've been doing. So if there's any question to be had then that's proper before their budget review and not really before the permitting process."

Hallisey added there is nothing wrong with the town contributing to community events.

"The Medfield Day event is something that contributes to the town that's not measurable in dollars and cents," Hallisey said. "It offers businesses and organizations new and old the opportunity to market themselves and get in front of the townspeople, to market their services. Many of the businesses have said this is their most effective marketing to the town."

In addition, Hallisey said organizations have told MEMO that Medfield Day can be their biggest fundraising opportunity of the year and simply, the event is the "biggest feel-good day for this community for the past 30 years."

"In many regards this is a community event and it would be considered a community effort," Hallisey said.

Peterson did not dismiss Hallisey's point that Medfield Day is an important community event each year to the town.

"There's no question that Medfield Day is one of the wonderful town events and I ran it for three or four years and I love the event," Peterson said. "The issue is whether or not MEMO should be reimbursing the town ... for [town services being used] and whether it is appropriate or not for the town to give public services to a private group."

Hallisey said MEMO has been billed in the past by the police department and the organization has paid those bills.

“We have no problem with that,” Hallisey said. “Again, this isn’t something that should be done at the permitting process, you don’t do it for any other permit. It should be something you discuss with your department heads. We have no problem in making payments, which we have in the past.”

Peterson admitted that he’s “not smart enough to figure out what’s fair and which groups you charge and which groups you don’t charge,” concluding everyone who gets town services should be paying for it.

“I’ve also determined [since this discussion was held last year] that I think we are probably violating the law and putting our employees at risk and so I would suggest we get Town Counsel to give us some information about that and see whether it is an issue for us.”

After both sides were heard on the issue, Thompson seconded Fisher’s motion and the two voted in favor of MEMO’s request while Peterson opposed. For a second straight year, MEMO’s request to hold Medfield Day was granted by a 2-1 vote from the selectmen.

Last summer, during a similar situation regarding the permitting of Medfield Day, Thompson originally abstained from voting because she was a member of MEMO, which resulted in a 1-1 vote for MEMO’s permit request. Fisher voted in favor of MEMO’s request while Peterson, similar to what he motioned for Tuesday, opposed the request because it was not “revenue neutral.” Sullivan consulted Town Counsel Mark Cerel on whether Thompson could vote or not based on a potential conflict of interest. Cerel said Thompson and Fisher – because his wife, Lucille, is a MEMO member – would have to file a disclosure statement with the Town Clerk to be able to vote on the matter. Both selectmen did and they were able to vote, 2-1 in favor of MEMO’s request last summer and again on Tuesday.

Selectmen Issue Permit for Memorial Day Parade

The selectmen approved the Memorial Day Committee's request for a parade permit and a discharge of firearms permit for the town's annual Memorial Day Parade and exercises to be held on Monday, May 28. The selectmen were also invited to march in the parade.

Selectmen Approved the Following Licenses and Permits

  • The Medfield Lions Club's request to hold the semi-annual Toll Booth fundraiser on Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • The Medfield Music Association's request to place signs advertising the Jazz Night Concert, which will be held on May 30 in the Medfield High School Auditorium.
  • Comfort Zone Camp's request to hold its second annual 5K run and walk on Saturday, July 21 at the middle and high schools. Selectmen were invited to be apart of the opening ceremonies.
  • Rae's Fresh as Sunshine's request for a one-day alcohol permit for the Dwight-Derby House Gala to be held on Saturday, May 19.
  • Church of the Advent's request to display signs advertising their annual plant sale on Saturday, May 12.
  • Council on Aging’s request for a one-day wine & malt beverage permit for an Art Exhibit on Wednesday, May 2 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Selectmen Acknowledge Resignation Letter

The selectmen acknowledged the resignation letter of William Gallagher from the Permanent Building Committee.

Selectmen Acknowledge Letter from Boston Society of Civil Engineers

The selectmen received a letter from the Boston Society of Civil Engineers announcing Blake Middle School students who participated in the annual "design a bridge online competition." Fisher said there were approximately 40 students who participated.

Miscellaneous

Sullivan said Wednesday afternoon's power outage in town was due to the replacement of some wires, according to DPW Superintendent Ken Feeney.

The Medfield Board of Selectmen meetings are broadcast live by Medfield.TV on local cable access and can be found on demand online.

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