, Newburyport, MA

September 16, 2013

Three apply to fill seat on Pentucket School Committee

Superintendent to announce decision today

By Elizabeth Rose

---- — MERRIMAC — Three candidates interviewed recently for a vacant position on the Pentucket Regional School Committee, created by the resignation of Jane Broz, who resigned to enter a PhD program. The other Merrimac School Committee member, Wayne Adams, guided the interviews at the Sept. 9 selectmen’s meeting.

The first candidate was Joanna Blanchard, who has a doctorate in chemical engineering and is the parent of a fifth- and seventh-grader in the school system. She said that her training as an engineer had given her the logic needed to do the School Committee job. Her priorities include small class size, above other priorities.

The second candidate was Bill Buell, a Merrimac resident for the past 30 years. Buell is also a recently retired high school teacher in the Pentucket system, where he has been on faculty for 30 years. He said his service on search committees for principal and superintendent have prepared him for a post on the school board. He also brings time to devote to the position due to his recent retirement. Buell described himself as a fiscal conservative and would also like to see the International Baccalaureate program developed in the high school.

The final candidate was Andrew Connor, who has been a Merrimac resident for three years and has a 6-year-old daughter. He said he was running for his daughter and all the children of Merrimac to ensure that they “get the education they deserve.” Connor works as an EMT and a firefighter. He expressed concerns about the physical maintenance of the schools and expressed a love of the “Maybury” lifestyle in Merrimac.

Selectmen adjourned in executive session to select the new member. The results will be announced today by Superintendent Jeffrey Mulqueen.

In other business, the town has received $4,822 back on worker’s compensation and property casualty insurance costs through the voluntary participation in loss prevention and risk management activities that are provided as incentives by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, its insurance provider. In addition, employees participated in training programs that promote effective management and operations, according to the press release issued by the MIIA.

Finance director Carol MacLeod said that “All employees at the town are committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep the insurance cost as low as possible for the taxpayers. The programs MIIA offer are a great resource for our managers to use.”

Department of Public Works Director Bob Sinibaldi reviewed the abutters’ response to the possible closure of a half-mile section of River Road.

“The residents have accepted the fact that it may be a permanent closure. Andrea Mann, who had severe reservations, has constructed a pathway to the river where she has her boat. Everyone realizes this is a very real consideration and will be coming to fruition,” Sinibaldi said.

Selectman Rick Pinciaro and McLeod met with the insurance carrier to discuss risk of the area to pedestrians and others using the closed road. They agreed that there remains significant liability risk to the town of accidents. The plan remains to erect 160 feet of 10-foot tall fencing in two sections at both ends of the road. A lock will be placed on the fencing to which abutters will have access. No trespassing signs will also be posted.