, Newburyport, MA

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May 13, 2013

Knowles again to be chairman of Board of Selectmen

Group to meet on Mondays beginning May 20

WEST NEWBURY — Last week’s selectmen’s meeting got off to a somewhat rocky start when the board reorganized following the town election.

Selectman Glenn Kemper nominated himself for the position of chairman, saying he felt the board was best served by rotating the chairmanship. But receiving no second to his motion, he withdrew it.

Selectman Joe Anderson then nominated Selectman Bert Knowles Jr., saying the current chairman had the necessary experience to run the board. All three selectmen could work together to develop the agendas, he added.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” Kemper said, “We have not been working as a team with Bert as chairman.”

He complained that in the past year Knowles omitted items Kemper has wanted added to the agenda. And he accused the chairman of making decisions without first getting input from the two other selectmen at an open meeting. A “fresh pair of eyes” was a healthy thing; otherwise, the town winds up losing, Kemper said.

“Obviously, there’s more than one opinion on that,” Knowles retorted.

Because of work commitments during other nights of the week, Anderson said he would prefer meeting on Mondays instead of Wednesdays going forward. That means any agenda items for the next meeting must now be submitted to the selectmen’s office for consideration no later than noon on the previous Wednesday. The agenda will be posted on Thursdays.

Selectmen’s summer schedule is May 20, June 3 and 17, July 15 and 19, and Aug. 15 and 29.

In other business, the board approved a new wage schedule for part-time coverage in the assessor’s office contingent on termination by June 30 of a position with an hourly pay of $17.55.

Patricia Reeser was appointed a full member on the Open Space Committee; and selectmen announced openings for at least three new members on the Finance Committee; two members for the Zoning Board of Appeals; and an at-large member for the Community Preservation Committee. Anyone interested in a position should contact the selectmen’s office.

Police Chief Lisa Holmes issued a letter of commendation recognizing resident Jeff Meisner, Sgt. Dan Cena and officer Eric Forni for their “team effort” and fast action last month that saved the life of a woman in medical distress found at the community bandstand.

Selectmen then went into closed session to discuss the possibility of leasing an antenna on the Park and Recreation Building by Page Elementary School to the town’s ambulance service.

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