Andover has a new person in charge of making the town "greener" – less dependent on fossil fuels, according to Town Manager Andrew Flanagan.
Joyce Losick-Yang started her new job this week, at an annual salary of $84,000, town officials said. She was among 38 applicants for the position, according to Flanagan, who recommended that she be hired.
Flanagan said the creation of the new position was part of the goals for sustainability that he and selectmen set last summer. Losick-Yang will be expected to develop and carry out policies that will make Andover more environmentally responsible, Flanagan said.
Losick-Yang will be working with the town's Department of Public Works, which oversees the collection of trash and recyclables, among other duties.
Selectmen voted 4-1 on Nov. 4 to hire a full-time sustainability coordinator for the town. Selectman Alex Vispoli, who opposed creating the position, cast the sole dissenting vote.
"I thought we should think it through before hiring this person," Vispoli said.
He pointed out that the state has hired regional coordinators who assist cities and towns with obtaining grants for energy-conserving measures.
Vispoli also said selectmen did not set specific goals and objectives for the position. Janet Nicosia, who was promoted to plant and facilities director for the town, put many energy-saving practices into effect in her prior position, he said.
Andover has already made great strides in energy conservation by increasing its use of solar power and installing LED street lights, Vispoli said.
Andover has qualified for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program, which provides support for cities and towns to begin planning for climate change resiliency and completing priority projects, Flanagan said.
With a sustainability coordinator working for Andover, Flanagan said he and the selectmen hope Andover will achieve Designated Green Community status. This will enable the town to obtain more state money to establish "green" programs, he said.
He said Losick-Yang will review energy use by town departments and make recommendations on how to reduce hydrocarbon emissions. She was employed by the U.S. Department of Energy before accepting the Andover position.
She earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry at Rutgers University. Losick-Yang has a doctorate in genetics and microbiology, which she earned at MIT, according to town officials.
"There is so much work to be done," said Selectman Daniel Koh, who joined Chairwoman Laura Gregory and board members Ann Gilbert and Christian Huntress in voting for the sustainability coordinator.