Wednesday April 3, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Selectboard has named the nine members of the new Police-Fire Oversight Committee to oversee the town's $14 million renovation project.

The board was originally going to appoint seven members to the board, but then named nine members when the board was unable to break a tie vote between the final four nominees.

Robin Sweetapple, Anthony Farnum, David Emery Sr., Kathy Dowd, Philip Chapman, Prudence MacKinney, Stephen Phillips, Eli Gould, and Selectboard member John Allen will work with the Selectboard on the renovation project on the town's police station and two fire stations.

The Selectboard also voted to give Allen a vote on the nine member board.

The town received 18 applications, and two applicants withdrew their names before Tuesday's vote.

The board interviewed 16 people before voting during Tuesday night's regular Selectboard meeting. Only 14 of the 16 who were interviewed had their names brought up for consideration during Tuesday night's vote.

Town Meeting Representatives have approved the $14 million project to upgrade the police station and the two fire stations in town.

Before Tuesday's the vote on the committee members the board decided to allow five nominees who sent their letters in after the March 22 deadline to be considered for the oversight committee. Only one of those people; Stephen Phillips, was ultimately appointed to the committee.

Selectboard member Kate O'Connor said she had reservations about allowing nominees who had sent in their letters after the deadline. She said it might set a precedent, and she also wondered if it would be fair to the nominees who sent their letters in before the deadline.

But Selectboard member Ken Schneck said "The landscape changed after Town Meeting," and while he generally supports process, Schneck said it might make sense to allow the nominees who missed the deadline to be considered.

Selectboard Chairman David Gartenstein said he asked some Town Meeting Representatives who opposed the project to put their names in after Town Meeting to balance the committee. He said it was important to have all points of view on the committee

"The only way to ensure a total buy-in is to make sure we have people who voted against it on the committee," Gartenstein said.

Town Manager Barbara Sondag said she would call the committee together soon to meet with the newly hired project manager.