To: Board of Selectmen
From: William G. Keegan, Jr., Town Administrator
CC: Assistant Town Administrator
Date: December 12, 2011
Re: Town Administrator’s Report for 12. 15.2011
1. NSTAR Response- I am pleased to report that the Town did get a positive response to the letter that I sent to President Thomas May about a month ago. The response came in two forms, one was that a significant amount of tree-trimming has begun in Town and NSTAR crews are working directly with DPW Director Joe Flanagan to address the areas in need of this work. The second response has come directly from NSTAR’s governmental relations director who has requested that we set up a meeting with one of NSTAR’s Executives to discuss how their operations can better serve the needs of this community. This meeting will be held at the operational level initially involving several Department Heads but a follow up meeting will be held with the Board to discuss specific improvements that we have collectively identified. This meeting will not likely occur until after the start of the New Year but we attempting to identify dates at this time (if a final date has been set by Thursday, I will amend this report).
2. 434 Washington Street- closing on this property is set for Friday (December 16). This closing was delayed a few months to accommodate the needs of one of the remaining tenants but the situation has now been rectified. Now that we will own the property we can evaluate options at the site for the short-term. Long-term, the site will be used in expanding and renovating Fire Headquarters. No time-table has been set for that work at this time.
3. Permits for Public Appearances- In recent weeks a few requests have been made of the Town to permit public appearances; particularly at Legacy Place. The Board will recall that there is a Town By-law that regulates this activity and requires a permit from the Board of Selectmen. The current By-laws call for a process that can take up to 30 days or longer. The problems that have occurred recently is that due to the growing popularity of Legacy Place, more and more public appearances are starting to be generated. There is a wide range of public appearances that require little to know security consideration to ones that require a coordinated security response. However the By-law does not differentiate on how a “public appearance” is defined. I met earlier late last week with the Marketing Director of Legacy Place, Joan Jolly who reviewed the types of requests that they are starting to receive. The challenge is that many of the second and third “tier-type” public appearances offer very little lead time from when the request is made to when the appearance date actually would occur. This practically means that there is a strong likelihood that in the time that the Board would be able to get the request, act on it, and send back the response; the approval date would be beyond the actual appearance date. In these particular types of public appearances, there is no charge for the appearance and that the individual is likely appearing to boost their personal identity and popularity or; to increase the store’s popularity or; to promote a particular charity. The purpose of the existing by-law (as I understand it) is to afford the opportunity to properly address public safety and crowd control measures. The current by-law seeks to regulate events that could cause a disruptive situation for traffic, pedestrians and to mitigate potential safety conflicts. However, not all public appearances rise to that level of concern. As such, I would recommend to the Board that the current by-law be evaluated and that certain considerations be given to regulate the various levels of public appearance impacts. This would also consider how certain appearances would be approved; provided of course that adequate public safety oversight has been afforded. I welcome the Board’s assistance in addressing this evaluation or, if you would prefer to have me provide you with some recommendations from our public safety Chiefs; I will be glad to do so.
4. Dedham Square Improvement Bid Specifications- will be available this week. The Project has been advertised in the Central Register and will be in the paper this week. The response date has been set as January 19, 2012. Another step in this highly anticipated project is now underway.
5. Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Planning Assistance- I am pleased to announce that a request for technical assistance from MAPC to develop a regional pedestrian and bicycle improvement plan for the Towns of Westwood and Dedham has been approved. The request was made through the efforts of our Environmental Coordinator, Virginia LeClair and the Sustainability Advisory Committee. They worked cooperatively with the Town of Westwood to make the request so that both towns could develop connections that would further enhance the shared goal of improving pedestrian and cycling routes in the region.
6. Holiday Breakfast- the Annual Holiday Breakfast for staff members, Boards and Committee Members is scheduled for December 22, 2011 starting at 9:00 A.M. in the Lower Conference Room. All Board Members are welcome to attend.
Happy and Safe Holiday Season to All!