, Newburyport, MA

November 8, 2012

Town Meeting to vote tonight on Page School building costs

By Jennifer Solis Correspondent
Newburyport Daily News

---- — WEST NEWBURY — Voters gather in the Town Annex tonight for a Special Town Meeting that was postponed last month due to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. On the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting is $188,000 more for the Dr. John C. Page School building project, $155,000 for engineering for a proposed sidewalk upgrade along Main Street or repairs to existing sidewalks, $32,000 for a new police cruiser, and $40,000 for a final payment in a $100,000 settlement negotiated by selectmen to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed by former Finance Director Tracy Blais.

Town leaders funded $40,000 through a reserve fund transfer and Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association is paying $20,000 toward the settlement plus most of the town and defendants’ legal fees. However, the town is responsible for an additional $10,000 in legal fees for former Selectman Tom Atwood that MIIA is not paying.

Atwood is named in the lawsuit along with Selectman Glenn Kemper and former Selectman John McGrath. Atwood and Kemper are indemnified by the town because they were sitting selectmen at the time the alleged charges occurred. McGrath has also been indemnified as part of the settlement agreement.

A quorum of 40 voters is needed to take action at the Special Town Meeting, except on funding requests over $20,000, for which the quorum is 90. The Town Annex is located at 379 Main St.