Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

August 29, 2013

ZBA vacancies putting strain on town board

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Regular member Lynne Batchelder, who joined in 2001 as an associate member, and Rachel Baime, who joined in 2007, both stepped down after their terms expired.

Brown said all three resigned for personal and professional reasons.

Meanwhile, Carol McDonough, a third member up for reappointment who is also the clerk of the board, has been named to a new term.

Brown said the vacancies would have been filled earlier except that selectmen decided to take a more active role in the process than it has done in the past.

Under the town charter, the Board of Selectmen is responsible for appointing members of the Zoning Board, as well as the town accountant and town manager.

Traditionally, Brown said, Zoning Board members have been chosen from the town’s talent bank, a repository of resumes submitted by local residents interested in volunteering on boards and commissions.

Brown said three names from the talent bank were forwarded to the Zoning Board by Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski. The applicants met with the Zoning Board for “get-to-know sessions” and were given the green light for appointment, he said.

However, Brown said, “The names never got to the selectmen.” Brown said there was nothing wrong with the three applicants, but that selectmen have sought to be more involved in screening and interviewing candidates,

“We were in the process of suggesting these people would be fine. But selectmen decided to open the process up,” he said. “That’s just fine. We’re all on the same page.”

Now, the net will be cast a little wider, Brown said.

“We are encouraging the three people we met with to reaffirm their interest and be part of the process, and we’ll see where it all goes,” he said.

A subcommittee of two selectmen will review the applicants, including the original candidates, then schedule interviews and make recommendations to the full board.

“We’re going to work quickly to make sure the positions are filled,” Vispoli said.

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