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Select Board roundup: New DPW director, first economic development manager approved

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Business, Featured: News, News

The Select Board at its four-hour meeting Tuesday night voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Conservation Commission co-chair Kerry Reed as the town’s new Department of Public Works director and Julia Chun as the new sustainability, economic development and equity project manager.

Town Manager Norman Khumalo appointed Reed as the new DPW director, replacing interim director Thomas Temple. She attended the hybrid meeting via Zoom.

“I am very happy that our efforts were successful convincing her to abandon the Conservation Commission and join the DPW,” Khumalo said. “As you know, the Department of Public Works director serves a key leadership position in town, strategically directing planning and overseeing the operations of the DPW, its staff and equipment.”

He highlighted Reed’s work as the assistant commissioner of Worcester’s Department of Public Works and Framingham’s assistant engineer. She also is a retired engineer officer in the U.S. Army.

Members complimented Reed’s resume and welcomed her to her new role.

“I do want to say that I’m happy to have you here given the rigorous review process,” Select Board member Irfan Nasrullah said, calling her resume “the perfect package.” “I love that you’re bringing your experience in Worcester and Framingham, but also that you’re bringing your preservation experience.”

As for Chun, she steps into a newly created position.

“Having Julia in this position represents courage,” said Khumalo, “in the sense that she is ready, willing and very capable of helping us start this new position in town.”

Chun previously worked at the Boston Chamber of Commerce and interned at the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, the Massachusetts State Treasury and Worcester Community Housing Resources.

Human Resources Director Maria Casey said Chun was called “a great thought partner” by one of her references, while others commended her attention to detail and passion for her work.

“This is going to be an exciting journey, and we’re looking forward to it,” said Select Board vice chair Shahidul Mannan. He noted the challenges of diversifying the town’s tax base, which is overwhelmingly residential.

Nasrullah focused on the sustainability and equity parts of the role, which he called “equally important.”

Said Nasrullah: “I’ve seen your experience, and you’re certainly up for the challenge.”

“I’m a big ideas person,” said Chun. “I love thinking outside the box and getting to collaborate with stakeholders, residents and with businesses.”

Commission on Disability members appointed

The Select Board also appointed the following members to the Commission on Disability: Nancy “Punky” Drawe, Select Board member Amy Ritterbusch, School Committee members Holly Morand and Nancy Richards-Cavanaugh, Alex Danahy and Michael DiMascio.

“There are so many challenges for the retail spaces in this town,” said Drawe, who has been advocating for the creation of this committee for years. She noted that she could not enter many small businesses either when she previously used two canes or currently using her wheelchair.

Fire chief recruitment process outlined

John Petrin, a senior associate at Community Paradigm Associates, explained the process for choosing Hopkinton’s next fire chief. He referred to himself as “an ombudsman” in the process, working with candidates and the town to find the person with the right fit.

He explained that the firm will assist the board in finding candidates both in-house and statewide. He has put together information on how the department operates, the equipment and the progress on the Woodville station (which closed last year). He also said the Eversource LNG facility will be taken into consideration.

Members said the qualities they are seeking in a chief are good communication, solid budget and event management, and strong leadership. Mannan said the new chief must be able to improve the response rate in a town that has experienced tremendous growth. Ritterbusch said she appreciated that the last two chiefs attended public meetings such as the Planning Board to make sure that engines could easily access proposed housing developments.

Advertising for the position will go out within the next couple of weeks, including via the Fire Chiefs Association newsletter and through the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

A screening committee that includes Community Paradigm Associates members, town staff, Select Board chair Muriel Kramer and Khumalo will be convened to review candidates before the finalists are presented to the Select Board for consideration. Select Board member Mary Jo LaFreniere suggested that a current Fire Department employee be included on the screening committee. But Casey countered that it would be a conflict of interest for an employee to participate in the selection of a supervisor.

Misc.: Cook changes title at library

The Select Board unanimously approved the appointment of Danielle Cook as the Hopkinton Public Library’s reference and technology supervisor. She had been serving as the adult services librarian.

In addition, several constable and committee positions were approved unanimously. The board also voted unanimously to accept Darlene Hayes’ resignation from the Cultural Council.

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