The Board of Selectmen Meeting on Nov. 5 included discussion and action on several ongoing topics.
Easton Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
The selectmen discussed making changes to the Easton Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Following the task force’s first meeting, one member and one alternate submitted their resignations. A third member voiced serious concerns about the direction and ability of the task force to be effective, citing partisan views of the chairman.
Selectman Kristi Sogofsky noted her disappointment with the outcome of the first meeting and calls by several people to disband the task force. Recognizing the call to disband did not have full support from the board, Selectman Sogofsky proposed adding an additional member to the task force to require bipartisan cooperation. That would create six positions, with a stipulation that no more than three members can be from one political party.
First Selectman Dave Bindleglass and Selectman Bob Lessler agreed with the proposal and the motion passed. Bindleglass noted that the task force has an incredibly difficult task and the Board of Selectmen will do all it can to support the members.
Board and Committee Appointments
The Board of Selectman considered two candidates to fill an open position as a Board of Finance alternate. The Democratic Town Committee nominated Jackie Kaufman for the position while the Republican Town Committee nominated Shari Pearlman. Both are local attorneys, have kids in the public schools and have served the town in various ways.
Sogofsky commented that the Board of Finance currently does not have a Republican serving as an alternate, despite there being four Republicans on the board. The Board of Finance has six full members and three alternates. She also pointed out that the makeup of the alternate positions has traditionally mirrored the makeup of the board. With two equally qualified candidates, Sogofsky argued that Pearlman should be appointed.
Lessler agreed both candidates were qualified but moved to appoint Kaufman to the position. Bindleglass seconded the motion. Lessler and Bindleglass voted in favor. Sogofsky opposed. Kaufman will now be sworn in and serve as an alternate on the Board of Finance.
The board also appointed Masha Watson to serve on the Tax Relief for the Elderly Committee.
Park and Rec Possible Ordinance Change
The discussion about making changes to the structure of the town’s Park and Recreation Department continued. The Board of Finance has suggested moving the maintenance workers, who are responsible for upkeep at the town’s fields, to the Department of Public Works. The Park and Rec Department and Commission oppose the move.
Both sides recently submitted letters to the Courier, explaining their positions. (Board of Finance letter, Parks and Rec Commission response) Moving the maintenance workers to DPW would require an ordinance change, which must be considered at a town meeting.
Lessler stated the underlying motivation for the change is in question and believes removing field maintenance from the Park and Rec Department will have a negative impact.
Bindleglass noted this has been an issue for and discussed over the course of many years. He stated his personal feeling is that there is a more efficient way to do the work, and that way is under DPW. Bindleglass plans to draft a proposed ordinance change and present it at the next Board of Selectmen meeting.
- The selectmen approved a special permit application request from the Easton Public Library. The library wants to install a sign on the building to the right of the main entrance. The application now goes to the Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration.
- The board approved an extension to the charge for the South Park Advisory Committee. The selectmen formed the committee earlier this year to consider options for the town-owned property on South Park Avenue. The committee unanimously supports the extension. The committee will now until June 30, 2021 to complete its work and recommendations.