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Reading Residents Invited to Apply for 2 Seats on Town Manager Screening Committee

Also: Selectmen review Town Meeting warrant; police department earns certification.

Residents of Reading who might want to sit on the screening committee for a new town manager, now’s the time to apply.

The committee will screen resumes and candidates for a manager to succeed Peter Hechenbleikner, who has held that position for 26 years.  He will retire this coming June 1.

The selectmen established the screening committee Tuesday. It will comprise seven members: two selectmen, the superintendent of schools, a representative from the town’s Finance Committee, a town department head and two members of the public.

The selectmen will appoint the committee members on Nov. 20. The selectmen will make the final hiring decision. The selectmen are working with consultant Richard Kobayashi from the Edward J. Collins, Jr., Center for Public Management at UMass, Boston, on the town manager search. Kobayashi is interviewing town employees develop a community and town manager profile that describes the town, its characteristics and challenges. He will also recruit candidates for town manager, according to prior discussion.

Screening committee members will meet this calendar year to organize -- elect a chairman, for example, according to the selectmen.

The committee will move into high gear in mid-January, when applicants’ resumes are expected to begin to arrive, through February, according to Human Resources Administrator Carol Roberts. 

To apply for a seat on the screening committee, complete the application that is posted on the town's website and submit it by Nov. 8 at noon, Roberts said. The selectmen had said they hope someone with a background in human resources sits on the committee.

In other action Tuesday, the selectmen reviewed the articles on the warrant for fall Town Meeting, which will start Nov. 13, a Tuesday.

The warrant includes 17 articles. One would authorize a debt exclusion for a public library renovation and addition.  That article will be postponed, according to the background.

Instead, the Board of Selectmen will call for a special Town Meeting on this issue to be held in late January, 2013. If the article passes Town Meeting by a two-thirds vote, the spring town election ballot would ask voters whether they would approve a Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion for the town’s share of the project’s $12 million cost -- an estimated $7 million.

Another article would allow for “remote” parking lots, shared parking and phased construction of parking spaces “to provide additional tools to support and encourage development of lots, where appropriate, that cannot meet the zoning requirements for on-site parking.

Still another asks whether the town will accept a grant of just under $190,000 and a no-interest loan of $231,550 to continue its efforts to remove unwanted storm water flows from the sewer system, which reduces sewer assessments from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and decreases demand on the local sewer system. The town program includes house-to-house inspections, testing and spot repairs.

A long-discussed and contentious article would add two appeals to the town’s demolition delay bylaw.  One appeal would let property owners challenge having their property placed on a town list of historic structures; the other, to contest having a demolition delay of up to six months imposed on those properties.

The full warrant, which includes the articles and background information, should be posted on the town’s website, with paper copies available to Town Meeting members, this coming Tuesday, Town Clerk Laura Gemme told Patch yesterday. On line, go to the town website (ci.reading.ma.us); to departments (town clerk); and link to “town meeting.”

Police Chief James Cormier also attended Tuesday’s meeting to announce that the Reading Police Department has been certified by Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc. That means outside evaluators determined that the local department meets 151 standards and best practices, Cormier said. The reviewers checked both written policies, he said, and department practices in action. The department was certified, he noted, in 2003 and 2007.

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