Select Board roundup: Herr lauded at his final meeting; town leaders earn high marks

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The Select Board, meeting in person at Town Hall on Tuesday night for the first time since switching to Zoom last year during the pandemic, bid farewell to Brian Herr, paying tribute to the longtime board member by singing his praises and gifting him an engraved wooden chair.

Herr is not a candidate in Saturday’s Town Election.

“What Brian brings to the town is immeasurable,” Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone said, adding: “Every one of Brian’s decisions has been for the best of the Town of Hopkinton. … He always put the town before himself.”

Tedstone credited Herr with spending “a lot of time behind the scenes” sharing his knowledge and teaching the current chair how the board works.

Said Tedstone: “The town is going to experience a massive loss in the knowledge of municipal finance, overall how government runs, etc., etc.”

Select Board vice chair Irfan Nasrullah concurred.

“The institutional knowledge that we’re losing with Brian is huge, and I think that his decisions have always been well thought out,” he said. “We haven’t always agreed, but I can always say that his decision-making was in the best interest of the town. It’s a huge loss.”

Board member Amy Ritterbusch credited Herr, a former Republican turned independent, with staying true to himself.

“I’ve always appreciated Mr. Herr’s independent spirit, and that he is not afraid to disagree with someone that he usually agrees with,” Ritterbusch said. “He always has a well-reasoned opinion and is not afraid to speak up.”

Town manager Norman Khumalo said Herr was always available to return a call or check in on an issue.

“The professionalism that you brought to our work is unheard of,” Khumalo said. “I honestly wonder where do you get the energy, where do you get the time?”

Herr, who has spent 12 years on the board, including formerly serving as chair, closed the meeting by crediting the leadership and employees of the town for their effort and dedication.

It’s been a great ride,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed 96, 97 percent of it.”

Herr said he recalled former Select Board member Mike Shepard telling him upon his retirement from the board, “ ‘The most rewarding jobs that you will do in your life are those where you don’t get paid.’ I thought it was a great line then, and I think it’s a great line that applies to today for me personally,” Herr said. “This has been a great job. I’ve really enjoyed it an awful lot.”

Boston Marathon bibs distributed

The town received 50 Boston Marathon numbers from the Boston Athletic Association to distribute to local groups for fundraising. After some discussion, it was determined that one bib each will go to the following 30 organizations: Baypath Humane Society, eHop, The Michael Lisnow Respite Center, Project Just Because, National Brain Tumor Society, Hopkinton Garden Club, Hopkinton Women’s Club, Hopkinton Lions Club, Demons Youth Hockey Association, Mental Health Collaborative, Hopkinton High School Class of 2023, Friends of Hopkinton SEPAC, Hopkinton Education Foundation, Hopkinton PTO, Hopkinton High School Business Professionals of America/Robotics, Dignity Matters, Hopkinton Girls Youth Lacrosse, Hopkinton Boys Youth Lacrosse, Canty’s Underdog Scholarship Fund, Hopkinton Middle School, Hopkinton Emergency Fund, Hopkinton Little League, Friends of the Hopkinton Senior Center, Friends of Hopkinton, Hopkinton Public Library/Friends, Hopkinton Public Library Foundation, Live4Evan, Sharon Timlin Memorial 5K, KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation, and Hopkinton Historical Society.

The remainder of Hopkinton’s allotment will go to the Hopkinton Police Department (10 numbers), Hopkinton Fire Department (1), Hopkinton Senior Center (1), Hopkinton Marathon Committee (5), Veterans Celebration Committee (1), Veterans Graves Officer (1) and Tax Relief Committee (1).

Town leaders get high marks

The board discussed the performance evaluations for the police chief, fire chief and town manager and had high praise for all three. There are five categories to which each individual could be rated. Police Chief Joseph Bennett, who just completed his first year, was given the second-highest ranking, indicating that he “achieves and sometimes exceeds expectations.” Fire Chief Steve Slaman received the top ranking, indicating he “achieves expectations regularly.” Khumalo received the second-highest mark. Goal-setting for the upcoming year is scheduled to be discussed at the next meeting on June 1. …

In other Select Board news, the board was informed of the hiring of Kimberly Ciaramicoli as the new conservation administrator, replacing the retiring Don MacAdam. Ciaramicoli was assistant conservation administrator for Framingham from 2016-19 and has been an environmental specialist for Power Engineers since 2019. She is scheduled to start May 25. …

The board approved a parade permit for the June 5 Hopkinton High School graduation car parade.

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