Arlington board chooses 2 more members for advisory committee

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ARLINGTON — The Select Board has chosen five community members to serve voluntarily on a committee that will help the town choose its first-ever administrator.

In a 3-1 vote on Monday night, the board appointed Nicol Whalen, a human resources recruiter, and Chelsea Jeffery, described by a board member as a relatively new town resident who is looking to become more involved in community matters, to the Town Administrator Advisory Search Committee.

The two residents will join three members appointed in mid-July to the committee: Merrill Bent, an attorney; Pamela Halbur, a human resources manager; and James Baker, executive director of the Arlington Area Renewal Project, a group that advocated for the position's creation.

Two Select Board members, Matthew Bykowski and Daniel Harvey, will also serve on the committee.

Select Board Chairman Keith Squires, who cast the dissenting vote Monday, said he believed a search committee with fewer members would be more effective.

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"I don't think you want to overload" the committee, Squires said before the vote.

A letter previously signed by board members said the committee would include three to five community members. Bykowski said he regarded five such members as a minimum standard, given the risk that someone eventually might drop out because of other commitments.

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Before the board voted to add two members to the committee, Bykowski made a motion to add a total of four new members — Whalen, Jeffery, Joshua Sherman and Carolyn Blitz — but withdrew it after receiving no support from the board.

"I think it's too many," Harvey said.

Whalen and Jeffery advised the board of their interest in serving on the committee before Sherman and Blitz did the same, "so if we wanted to scale it back," it would be fair to select the former two residents over the latter, said Bykowski, whose pared-down motion gained the support of Harvey and another board member, Cynthia Browning.

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Board member Timothy Williams was absent from Monday's meeting.

The committee will assist in drafting the town administrator's job description, start a search for potential candidates, review applications, interview applicants and pick three finalists by Oct. 1, according to the letter. The job posting will be made public one month before that date.

By Nov. 1, the Select Board will have made its final selection of an administrator, who will start the job in January.

Arlington residents voted to create the part-time position in March. The administrator will oversee the town's daily operations.

The search committee will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 1 at Arlington Town Hall.


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