Category Archives: On being a selectman

On being a selectman


One of the lesser known things the selectmen do is to sign the weekly warrants prepared by Town Accountant, Joy Ricciuto, which are long lists of each and every town expenditure.  Technically, no town money is to be spent without the approval of the selectmen, so each week Joy prepares the long lists of expenditures, and the selectmen sign off on her accounts, before the checks are issued. Those weekly warrants generally vary from $200,000 to over $2m.

This morning I stopped by the Town House early at 7:30 to sign the warrants.  Since I have gotten used to walking through the building in total darkness when I go to sign things after work, I generally never bother to turn on any lights.  As a result I scared the dickens out of Treasurer Collector, Georgia Colivas when she, getting to work early, rounded a corner in the morning gloom and found me where no one was expected. Fortunately no coffee spilled.

When I did then sign the warrants, by force of habit I signed on my old line, instead of moving up one line as I should have done, because on Monday we got a new selectman.  It is another one of those lesser known selectmen oddities that we tend to sign the warrants in our order of Chair, Clerk, third member, even though I am sure there is no requirement. So I welcomed Mike Marcucci by stealing his signature line on his first warrants.  However, no worries Mike, as the form has a fourth signature line.

Gateway opening


This morning was the official ribbon cutting and opening of the new Charles River overlook dubbed the Gateway at Medfield.  Over one hundred people gathered in the strong fall winds at Medfield’s newest jewel, high above the Charles –  some walked, some rode bikes, and some came on horses.  Richared DeSorgher officiated with a loud speaker’s voice honed by years in the classroom.

Richard declared it Arbor Day in town, reading the proclamation citing teh 55 trees planted at the site, and then introduced the series of speakers:

  • Carol Gladstone, DCAMM Commissioner
  • Carol I. Sanchez, DCR Commissioner (see photo below)
  • Mike Francis, TTOR Superintendent
  • Bob Zimmerman, CRWA Executive Director


Bill Massaro, John Thompson, and John Harney were signaled out repeatedly for their efforts that turned the ship of the Massachusetts state away from its less expensive, simplistic, but legally sufficient cap and cover formulaic clean up, to the result that has created the state’s newest park, with dramatic views down to the Charles River below and the largest recreated wetlands in the history of the river.

Even the ruins of the old pump house has been made interesting –

MSH-pump house after

On being a selectman

Board of Selectmen Meeting

When the selectmen meeting ended at 9PM on Tuesday evening, I walked over to the Bros. Marketplace, and despite learning that they had just closed (they were all cleaning up), they still let me buy a loaf of bread to make a meal out of.  The friendliness of that gesture, along with the tasty bread, won me over to being a customer.  Just as I find in my law practice, it is all about the customer service.

Medfield State Hospital

Meeting last night of the Negotiating Committee with DCAMM.  Again dinner after 9PM.

Arts Center

Jean Mineo came to my office hours in Straw Hat Park this morning, and laid out her plans to seek some sort of community arts center as part of the Medfield State Hospital site redevelopment.  She noted that the arts center in Maynard is cited by residents in that town as the thing in town of which they are most proud, and that the DeCordova in Lincoln in a signature feature of that town.  This concept got me really excited for the possibilities.

Jean said that she is also looking to identify all artists in town, so that they can start to communicate with one another, and perhaps collaborate in mutually beneficial ways.  If you are a Medfield artist, you should get in touch with Jean.


Housing for those Age 55+

Roberta Lynch, Director of the Council on Aging, came to my office hours at The Center to discuss her desire to build reasonably priced small single floor housing for those age 55 and over, near The Center on Ice House Road’s lot 3 and the Hinkley field land, to take advantage of the synergies that would be available from adjoining The Center.  We also discussed how housing for that age group has been talked about for the Medfield State Hospital site redevelopment, and that the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee member (and housing developer), Ralph Costello, described at our Tuesday selectmen meeting when discussing that sort of housing that one gets to different price points by adjusting the density.  This concept also got me really excited for the possibilities.

6/12 mini-town hall

I am holding an evening mini-town hall on Alder Road next Thursday, June 12, and my hosts informed me that I could let people know that anyone is welcome to come.  Just please RSVP to if you want to come.

Selectman office hours tomorrow 9-10

Office Hours Tomorrow 9-10 at The Center

Tomorrow I hold my regular monthly office hours at The Center (on the first Friday of the month) from 9:00 to 10:00 AM (my litigation schedule permitting).  Residents are welcome to stop by without appointments to talk in person about any town matters.  Residents can also have coffee and see the Council on Aging in action (a vibrant organization with lots going on).  I can be reached via my cell at 508-359-9190 or my blog about Medfield matters, where any schedule changes will be posted.

 Mini-Town Hall Neighborhood Meeting 6/12

I am hosted a week from tonight on Alder Road for one of the monthly mini-town hall neighborhood selectmen meetings that sees one selectman each month meeting in a different neighborhood.

Medfield.TV 6/23

I appear with the editor of the Medfield Press. Max Bowen, on Jack Peterson’s Medfield Update show on Medfield.TV, which has one selectman each month appearing to discuss current town issues.

On being a selectman

This week seems to have had me spending large amounts of time during the day at work on selectman tasks, especially the Medfield State Hospital.  I made many calls and exchanged emails (1) about getting things ready for the Tuesday evening meeting and the BoS discussions about people to be appointed to the committee that will craft the redevelopment plans, and (2) to learn about the status of the ongoing clean up and purchase.

It was reported by John Thompson that a virtual trove of engineering drawings and plans of the Medfield State Hospital and its systems will soon be moved to a site with a less leaky roof.  John also reports from his having been in a few of the buildings and spoken with DCAMM and the security personnel that

  • the state intends to just leave everything behind that is there
  • that one of our first tasks should be to inventory what is there
  • that the security guards need to be interviewed before they depart, so that we can learn their understanding of patterns learned from having been on site 24/7 for more than ten years

On being a selectman

Long talk with Mike this AM to get the agenda straight for the Tuesday meeting and to catch up on things.

  • selectmen will discuss their goals for next year on Tuesday.
  • New ‘N Towne’s Touch a Truck event tomorrow will be at the DPW salt shed if it rains.
  • Clark Tavern decision is still being written by the ZBA – Mike said that the Linnerts’ petition was approved, but that there were about 45 conditions.
  • I related Gill Rodgers’ idea shared with me that the master planning for the Medfield State Hospital site should include all contiguous town owned lands, which would include Lot 3 on Ice House Road and the Hinkley land next to The Center.
  • Council on Aging has responded to complaints it violated the Open Meeting Law.
  • Economic Development Committee meets June 5 to look at creating an RFP for recreational uses at Lot 3 on Ice House Road.  The EDC apparently decided not to consider other non-recreational uses, even if they earned the town more return.
  • I met last night with Bob Herbstzuber, Russ Hallisey, and Bob Via to discuss Bob Herbstzuber’s push system to easily share community information.  Bob built a platform to share information at Boston College, where he works, and has already implemented a beta site in Milford.  Lots of potential – stay tuned.

On being a selectman

I attended one of the new mini-town hall meetings last night on Elm Street.  This was my second such session.  It is a nice way to have a discussion on a more personal level.  Thanks to Tom and Kathy Powers for hosting me.

Office hours tomorrow 9-10

Selectman Peterson Office Hours Tomorrow

Selectman Osler “Pete” Peterson holds regular monthly office hours at The Center on the first Friday of every month from 9:00 to 10:00 AM.  Residents are welcome to stop by to talk in person about any town matters, and no appointment is required.

Residents can also have coffee and see the Council on Aging in action (a vibrant organization with lots going on).  Peterson can be reached via 508-359-9190 or his blog about Medfield matters.

Woodland Theatre

Letter of thanks today from the Woodland Theatre.  Some of the things we do as selectmen are really fun, such as watching this play partly from the stage.  Their play was a high quality production and really entertaining –

February 5, 2014

Mr. Osler Peterson
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052

Dear Mr. Peterson,

On behalf of Woodland Theatre Company, I would like to express our many thanks for your participation in our recent production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” . Many of’ the patrons commented with delight upon recognizing you, and were impressed not only with your spelling ability, but your good-natured personality.

A show such as “Spelling Bee” relies in part on the entertaining guest spellers able to join in the fun , and you did not disappoint!
Again, thank you for donating your time and talent, and we look forward to seeing you in our audience at a future production.


Kelly Hodge

Director of Operations

Woodland Theatre Company

P.O. Box 538 • Sherborn , MA 01770 • 508- 655 – 0687 •

Mini-town hall

I held a mini-town hall meeting last Wednesday evening in the Belknap estates section of town, thanks to the gracious hosting at their home by Mary McCarthy and Howie Richman.

I started by updating people about the Medfield State Hospital and I then attempted to vocalize my thoughts about my plan to make Town of Medfield governing process as formalized as possible, but we quickly turned to the questions, of which there were many.  It was a great evening for me, with great people, and wonderful hosts.  Medfield is lucky to have such interested, dedicated and involved residents.

This came in a follow up email from Charlie Glew –

Sandy and I found you to be an excellent listener and very candid
within the limits of your role as a public official. The meeting exceeded our expectations in all respects.