Monthly Archives: June 2012

On being a selectman

Last Wednesday I went to Tilden Village for a flag raising, and then met for dinner with school personnel  and four visiting Chinese dignitaries at the Zullo Gallery, all arranged by Superintendent Maguire.  The dinner was an enjoyable time, despite the language barriers, even though there two individuals who were able to translate.  Bob had picked them up at the airport the night before, and dropped them off at their hotel, only to be kept out until 3 AM.  Bob mentioned that 500 Medfield students will be studying Mandarin next year.

Left dinner around 8 PM to attend the second half of the Energy Committee meeting.  Then at 8 AM Thursday the Energy Committee met to do a site visit to the town owned lands behind the Wheelock School as possible sites for a town owned solar photovoltaic array. There does appear to be lots of possible sites on the far side of the railroad tracks, up against the high tension wires.

Thursday evening I attended the Water & Sewer Board’s meeting where they considered their master plan.  $18 m. of water improvements needed over the next 20 years.  Left W&S to catch the last half of the Medfield Foundation meeting, where I learned that plans are well under way for the Angel Run.

Friday evening I attended the Girl Scouts Bridging Ceremony at the MHS auditorium.  Where there were so many happy girls, I know they are doing lots of things right.  There are something like 450 girl scouts in town, and the official from Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts announced that the numbers in Medfield are noticeably higher for those getting gold and other awards, and those participating.  I real tribute to the adult leadership.  The Bridging Ceremony ran like clock work.

We attended the Marimba concert at Blue Moon yesterday morning, and I felt so proud that our town has so much great music being performed.  Those kids were having a blast at making music.  Now I want to add some steel drums, which I have loved ever since seeing Black Orpheus in college.

Tonight its the Lyme disease study committee and the continued 40B hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals, and tomorrow the Board of Selectmen meet.

MMA Leadership conference on Saturday

This past Saturday I attended the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual Leadership Conference for selectmen, which was held at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton.  Excellent program on how to be a better selectman for your town – I regretted that Ann and Mark were not able to attend.

The main speakers were the MMA’s Executive Director, the deputy State Auditor (filling in for an ill auditor), and Commissioner James McHugh of the Gaming Commission (filling in for the Director of the Gaming Commission).

Goeff Beckwith, the MMA’s executive director, updated us on the budget and legislative actions.  See the linked copy of the  Massachusetts Municipal Association’s letter to the budget conferrees to see the MMA’s positions on the issues.

The Auditor’s office has been charged to avoid unfunded mandates from the since 1985, so we need to get Mike Sullivan telling them which ones they need to look into.

The Massachusetts DOER did a presentation on the Green Communities Act, and its benefits (grant monies).

The Town of Amherst’s budget people explained how they do their annual budget cycle.

The Attorney General’s Office and an attorney from Kopelman & Paige did a presentation legal issues – the Open Meeting Law, public records, conflict of interest, and generally running the town without legal problems.  Their lengthy handouts were all authored by attorneys and are copyrighted, so I cannot post them.

My favorite session was one called Strategies for Creating Civil Discourse in Government, which was presented by a mediator, and described the use of mediation techniques to move issues forward.  I have included one of her handouts.

PBC’s meeting last night

The Permanent Building Committee held the first of its meetings last night to explain to the town its current course and current thinking for a new DPW garage, and the Dale Street master plan.  The current plans are for a smaller garage (two fewer bays and 1,000 sq. ft. less of office space – now 8,000 sq. ft.) with specific details to come later. The currently PBC plans to ask for a special town meeting in November to ask for approval of monies to build a new highway garage.  The meeting last night was covered by Medfield.TV, so look for it there.

A warrant committee member asked me last night to share with the PBC the point counterpoint article I wrote on the proposed garage at Richard DeSorgher’s request for his MHS classes at the time of the ballot question, which focused on the then unanswered questions  – I will email it to them next.

The PBC’s FAQ handout from last night’s meeting can be accessed via the link below.

PBC’s 6-7-12 FAQ’s handout


Shawn Collins suggests the Elder Council of Selectmen, or the ECO’s.

I kind of like the Advisory Council, which sounds both weighty and knowledgeable to me, which all the members certainly are.

Needham’s work on youth substance abuse

Needham already got the Federal youth substance abuse grant that MCAP just applied to get, and the link below is to Needham’s overview of its program, and shows what they are doing.  Needham’s program is run by Medfield resident Carol Read.

Medfield 20/20 Leadership Council

Chris McCue Potts suggested a couple of good names for the new former selectmen town advisors, in an email last evening (a copy of the email appears below) –


Hi Pete,

I always love a good creative challenge!  I tried to come up with an acronym, but wasn’t having any luck. After thinking about how many we do have (and how confusing it’s getting), I decided to take a different approach.

I wrote down a bunch of words and phrases that represent what your group is all about…


Institutional memory

Lessons of past


Combined experience



Many combined years/decades of service

Clarity  (the ability to see things as they really are due to past experience)


What about the Medfield 20/20 Leadership Council  (my favorite)?

Or, Medfield Leadership & Experience Council (MLEC)?


Just a couple ideas!


Selectmen Advisory Committee

My colleagues voted at our meeting of the Board of Selectmen last night to constitute the advisory committee I suggested, made up of former Medfield selectmen, to act as an ad hoc group of advisors to the town administration. Now we just need a good name for the advisors.

My thinking was that as selectmen we learn so much that is specific to how to run a town, that it seemed a shame to not seek to make use of the expertise that we have around town in our former selectmen.  Living in town currently we have,  that I can recall are

  • Ed Beard,
  • Richard DeSorgher,
  • Harry Pritoni,
  • Paul Rhuda, and
  • John Harney

I believe that they have all agreed to serve.  Mr. Judge was also a selectman in some town on the Cape, and may have the same knowledge base.

Mike Sullivan wants to ask them to look at whether to have the town lease out the last/third lot at the town’s 30 acres on Ice House Road.  There is an individual who wants to lease it build a Four Kicks sort of indoor sports facility.  The town could lease it as we did to the Kingsbury Club.

I thought the advisors might weigh in on such disparate issues as

  • the Medfield State Hospital purchase,
  • the affordable housing solutions,
  • building town buildings, and
  • what to do about budget increases.

Let me know if you have a good name for either these advisors and/or for the committee that we just constituted last night to examine the purchase of the site of the former Medfield State Hospital.  Mike and I have been looking for a good acronym for the Medfield State Hospital committee.  <ike did not like my suggestion of State Hospital Use/Purchase Study (SHUPS) committee.

Town’s spending per pupil from FY03 to FY12

Charlie Kellner, the schools business manager prepared the following figures that show the town’s spending per pupil from FY03 to FY12.

Yearly tax increases averaged 2.6% since FY05

Mike Sullivan distributed to the Board of Selectmen Tuesday evening the attached speadsheet he had prepared about the taxes over time, FY05 to Fy13.  Taxes increased 20.6% over that time, or an average of 2.6% per year.


Support Riverside Community Care by shopping at Whole Foods Market, Dedham this Thursday

6/06/2012  9:37AM
Your Help!  FW: Shop at Whole Foods in Dedham this Thursday and support the Riverside Trauma Center
Read, Carol A.
Please share this email with friends and families in Medfield  who may
be supported by the amazing staff and programs at Riverside Community
Care. Thank you Carol


Subject: Shop at Whole Foods in Dedham this Thursday and support the
Riverside Trauma Center

Please encourage any friends or family members who live near Dedham to
shop at Whole Foods this Thursday. Whole Foods will give the Trauma
Center 5% of their net profits to us for the day. Thanks for your
consideration and support!! Jim

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Riverside Trauma Center

Spring 2012

Upcoming Events

Whole Foods 5% Day to Benefit
Riverside Trauma Center

Mark your calendar, tell your friends!

On Thursday, June 7, 2012, Whole Foods Market at Legacy Place in Dedham,
MA, will donate 5% of that day’s net sales to Riverside Trauma Center.
Riverside Trauma Center helps people in Massachusetts recover from the
extreme stress caused by traumatic events, such as natural disasters,
serious accidents, suicides, homicides, and terrorism.

So when you shop at Whole Foods Market at 300 Legacy Place in Dedham,
MA, on June 7,  in addition to getting great groceries, you’ll also be helping
to raise funds for Riverside Trauma Center.

Free Event in Dedham:  Keeping Your Teen Safe

On Wednesday, June 6, 2012, Whole Foods will be sponsoring a Riverside
Trauma Center presentation about Keeping Your Teen Safe: Recognizing
Signs and Symptoms of Depression and Suicide. This is a great
opportunity for parents to gain insight and ask questions about an
important mental health issue that impacts many teens today. Waheeda
Saif, LMHC, Program Coordinator at Riverside Trauma Center will conduct
the presentation at the Dedham Community House (671 High Street, Dedham,
MA) from 7-8:30 pm. Registration for this event is not needed.

Riverside Trauma Center is a service of Riverside Community Care, a
non-profit organization. Services are primarily funded through donations
and grants. All contributions are welcome and appreciated.
781-433-0672, ext. 5636

Riverside Trauma Center | 255 Highland Avenue | Needham | MA | 02494