NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 14, 2013

City boards have a busy year ahead

Casual observers of local government might presume that city governance is administered solely by a full-time organization featuring Mayor Donna Holaday, elected officials and professional staff.

But much of the municipality’s project-by-project activity is generated by volunteer boards that are in charge of overseeing, and sometimes passing judgment on, city progress.

Board members are unpaid, and their contributions are often unrecognized.

But Your Scribe frequently observes their work at meetings, and believes that they deserve a nod of recognition.

So here is a rundown of some of the most active non-school boards and commissions that operate here, with a notation of what issues they will be addressing in 2014:

Bartlet Mall Commission -- members are Andrew Simpson, Ellen Hanick, Sadie Cathcart and Walt Thompson. The group is trying to clean and improve the Frog Pond at the mall.

Board of Health -- members are Dr. Susan Beluk, Dr. Robin Blair and Patricia Lawrence. The board in 2014 will be pursuing its initiative of diminishing the use and purchase of tobacco. Also, members are monitoring the seasonal presence of insects that impart disease.

Commission for Diversity and Tolerance - members are Susan Brown, Eduardo Calapiz, Beth Raucci, Christian Farren, Alexa Looker, Mark Murray, Avi Poupko, Donna Scott, Kathleen Shaw, Carol Thompson, Hannah Wilson and Ken Wilson. The board “works toward the elimination of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and hate in our community.”

Conservation Commission -- members are Joe Teixeira, chairman, Steven Moore, Paul Healy, Mary Casey, Doug Muir, Dan Warchol and James O’Brien. The commission will continue to monitor the health of marshes, rivers and ocean, and also work to limit the impact of erosion on the beaches of Plum Island.

Community Preservation Committee -- members are Judith Grohe, chairman, Mike Dissette, Cindy Zabriskie, Paul Healy, Robert Uhlig, Margaret Welch, Mary Louise Gagnon, Jane Healey and Don Little. This panel passes judgment on applications for funding from organizations pursuing projects relating to history, recreation, open space and affordable housing. This year the board aggregated $994,453 for potential disbursement, a figure that includes a contribution from the state.

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