Northfield gov’t study panel needs volunteers
NORTHFIELD — The town is still seeking volunteers to serve on a committee that could shape the future of town government.
A Feb. 25 special town meeting created a committee to study different forms of town government and professional administrative support, to see if the town could be better served by adopting one.
An unofficial citizens’ committee formed in October to explore the matter. Members interviewed town officials and administrators in western Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns. Some had five-member boards of selectmen, some had three, like Northfield does now. Also like Northfield, some had town administrators, while others had more authoritative, and higher paid, town managers.
After looking into different town governments and the process for changing them, the group decided an official town committee should be formed to take on the issue.
Voters set up a five-person Town Governance Study Committee. Two of its members would be appointed by the Selectboard, two by the unofficial working group, and one by the moderator. Once formed, the committee will have the option of appointing an additional two members to its ranks.
The Selectboard has received letters from five residents interested in serving on the committee. These came from people who attended the meeting and filled out the forms then and there. Chairwoman Kathleen Wright said Tuesday she’d like to see a few more applicants before her board decides who it would like to appoint.
The board has decided to accept letters of interest until March 18, so it can make its decision at its March 19 meeting.
Citizens’ interest forms are available from the town secretary. Applicants should provide background and experience information that would be relevant to the committee’s charge, to help them make an informed decision.
Samuel Richardson, chairman of the unofficial committee, said his group has three people they are considering. Richardson said his group will wait to see who the Selectboard chooses before making its own appointment.
Town Moderator Nathan L’Etoile said he will wait until the March 18 deadline, and choose from the pool of applicants.
Richardson said the unofficial working group will continue bi-weekly meetings until the official committee is formed.
Once the official committee is formed, it will have 90 days to issue its findings, which may or may not come with a recommended course of action. The committee will also make an interim report to the May annual town meeting.