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Select Board says farewell to Kramer, Nasrullah; welcomes new town employees

by | May 1, 2024 | Featured: News, News

The Select Board bid farewell to two of its leaders at Tuesday’s meeting, as chair Muriel Kramer and veteran member Irfan Nasrullah appeared at their final meeting as members.

Vice chair Shahidul Mannan presented each of them with a clock in recognition of their service.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with both of you,” said Mannan, “and I think we have done a lot of good things together.”

An emotional Kramer said that while this period has been difficult, “it has been the privilege of my life to serve with this board.”

“Every single person on this board brings something really valuable and important and necessary to this process,” she continued as she complimented each of her colleagues. “It’s been a personal privilege to be part of this group.”

As his last official act, Nasrullah added an agenda item for future discussion of the recent racial incidents in town, which were discussed earlier in the meeting.

“We will certainly carry the torch,” said Mannan.

Town appoints new employees

The board unanimously approved the hiring of two new town employees as it continues to fill Town Hall vacancies.

Nathanny Balbino was appointed to be the new administrative assistant in the Land Use Department. Interim Town Manager Elaine Lazarus explained that Balbino has been working as a temporary employee for the past two months and decided that she would like a permanent position. A community college student, Balbino previously worked as a dental hygienist.

Lazarus noted that Balbino’s references pointed out Balbino’s attention to detail, strong work ethic and superior customer service skills.

Valdeci “Val” Alves was appointed as the custodial maintenance worker for the Engineering/Facilities Department. He previously served as a custodian in the Framingham Public Schools for three years and as a maintenance technician at Chestnut Hill Realty for nearly five years.

According to Lazarus, Alves was complimented by his references for being dependable and able to work well both independently and as part of a team.

Alves said he was interested in the position because it would allow him to work the late shift so that he could spend time with his family. He is looking forward to learning new skills.

Hiring process continues for town manager, deputy chiefs

In other employment news, Human Resources Director Jessica Lewerenz updated the board on the search for a new town manager and deputy police and fire chiefs.

Deputy police chief candidates were interviewed earlier in the day, and interviews will resume on Wednesday. There are six candidates for the position after an initial screening of 12 candidates. Those who move on in the process will be evaluated at the training center on May 25.

The posting for the town manager position closes on May 6, Lewerenz said. She is in the process of scheduling a meeting for the review committee the following week. There has been “significant interest” in the volunteer member role for the screening committee.

She added that people have been identified to serve on the deputy fire chief review committee. The job has not been posted yet. Mannan asked if there could be a role for residents on this search committee as well, and it will be discussed.

HCA gets permission to serve alcohol outdoors

The board unanimously approved an amendment to the Hopkinton Center for the Arts lease that would allow it to serve alcohol outdoors at its events with some restrictions.

The board approved the HCA’s on-premises alcohol license last month.

Lazarus explained that the HCA had been serving alcohol outdoors under the pandemic rules. This amendment would make outdoor service permanent as part of the lease. There was coordination with the School Department to ensure communication regarding large events and parking.

Town Meeting motions reviewed

With Annual Town Meeting starting Monday, the board reviewed the articles for both the Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting.

Town Moderator Ellen Rutter appeared via Zoom to discuss the consent agenda. It will include 13 articles, compared to eight last year. This includes “perfunctory articles” and ones that require no action that will help speed along the process, considering the “robust” nature of the warrants for both meetings. There also are three articles approving land acquisition of properties donated to the town.

Rutter said the clickers used at the Special Town Meeting this past fall only will be available for two nights unless additional money is allocated. Preparation for using the previous paper voting method will be put in place in case the devices cannot be funded for additional nights (if they are needed).

Closed captioning will be available for the first two nights.

Lazarus said the amount needed would be discussed with the Town Clerk’s office.

“There’s a number of articles that are going to have a lot of enthusiastic participation by townspeople,” said Rutter.

This year, Rutter said that participants will be limited to two appearances at the microphone for each article. Each appearance has a time limit of two minutes.

The Select Board voted unanimously to recommend taking no action on Articles 4, 5, 13 and 34. It recommended the remainder of the 51 articles for Annual Town Meeting and the three capital request articles for the Special Town Meeting as well as the article regarding the property disposition at Hayward Street.

Kramer said no motions have been received by the proposers of the two citizens’ petitions yet. If they are not received, the motions will need to be made on the floor.

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