Process of Choosing Board Riles Selectman
WILMINGTON -- An Economic Development Committee in town has been talked about for some time. But when Town Manager Jeff Hull announced his appointments to the committee, it did not sit well with one selectman.
Selectman Mike McCoy said he never recalled the Board of Selectman giving the authority to make the appointments. He said he didn’t have an issue with those who were on the board, but the process via which they got on.
“These appointments should be made by the Board of Selectmen, period,” McCoy said.
The town manager, Selectman Greg Bendel and Director of Planning & Conservation Valerie Gingrich will serve on the committee. Hull appointed Michael Champoux, Patrick Giroux, Lilia Maselli and Nancy Vallee to also serve as members. Champoux is a former selectman who is active with the Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce. Giroux has a family real estate business and also works for CBRE, a commercial real estate management firm in Boston. Maselli is an executive assistant with the management staff at Analog Devices. And Vallee is the executive director of the Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce.
“It was my understanding that when we developed the committee that the town manager would do the appointments,” said Board of Selectmen Chair Kevin Caira. “He’s here day-to-day and has the pulse of the area for the Development Committee, along with Valerie Gingrich.”
Caira asked McCoy if he wanted each selectman to make an appointment, adding to the members Hull already appointed. That would make for an 11-member committee.
“I want to be fair to everybody,” McCoy said.
McCoy questioned the selectmen only appointing one member each, while the town manager was able to make four appointments.
“If you’re looking for me to rescind my appointments, I can certainly do that,” Hull said.
Ultimately, the board voted to approve Hull’s appointments and each made an appointment of their own.
At the Jan. 14 Selectmen’s meeting, the board unanimously voted to establish an Economic Development Committee. At that meeting, Hull recommended it be a seven-member committee. After hearing from the town manager about the goals and purpose of the committee, but before the board made its vote, Selectman Jonathan Eaton asked what the next steps would be.
“The next steps would be for me to appoint the other members,” Hull said at that Jan. 14 meeting.
At the selectmen’s most recent meeting, Suzanne Sullivan, candidate for Board of Selectmen, criticized Hull for the appointments he made and questioned the criteria he used to make those appointments.
“Are they just hand-picked people that you’re good friends with?” Sullivan asked.
Caira said that was an offensive comment and that Hull did indeed appoint appropriate people for the committee.
Each selectman will announce their appointments at the next Board of Selectmen’s meeting scheduled for March 11. The first Economic Development Committee meeting was initially scheduled for March 12, but will be pushed back in order to give the newest appointed members further notice.