The Bourne Board of Selectmen swiftly implemented two of the arrest warrant articles passed at the annual general meeting. Selectmen approved a petition to the State Court to remove the Bourne Police Chief from the civil service. The board also approved a proposed amendment to state law relating to funding from the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund.
Both permits came during the elect’s remote zoom meeting on TuesdayMay 11th.
Article 19 called on the Board of Selectmen to contact state lawmakers to request a change in state law. The change would allow Cape Cod and the Islands Water Protection Fund to provide financial support for water conservation projects in Buzzards Bay under the city’s intermunicipal wastewater agreement with Wareham.
Despite some resistance during the city assembly, Article 19 was passed with 80 to 19 votes.
The Cape Cod and Islands Water Conservation Fund was established by state lawmakers to help the Cape and Islands cities pay for wastewater infrastructure and water quality remediation projects. The fund’s source of income is a 2.75 percent excise tax on traditional housing and short-term rentals.
Bourne’s intermunicipal agreement with Wareham provides for the payment of part of the operating costs at Wareham’s regional sewage treatment plant. There are plans to expand the plant and Bourne will be responsible for some of these costs.
Wareham is currently not a member of the CCIWPF, so it is not eligible to receive any money from the Water Conservation Fund. The proposed change to the legislation that created the CCIWPF would allow the elect to work with the Board of Directors on how Bourne can use Protection Fund money on sewage projects that its sewer users pay for as Wareham’s customers.
Selectman James L. Potter is the Chairman of the Bourne Board of Sewer Commissioners. Mr. Potter is also Bourne’s representative on the Board of Directors of the Water Conservation Funds. He suggested that the wording of the amendment stipulate that Bourne would like to use water preservatives to pay his share of the capital cost of the Wareham sewer system.
Bourne Finance Committee Chair Mary Jane Mastrangelo said she expected the discussion to focus more on the process than on the specific language in the proposed legislation. Ms. Mastrangelo said any proposed change would affect multiple parishes, not just Bourne. Discussions with the CCIWPF board should come first.
“I think in a preliminary discussion with the board you really have to go,” she said, “and find out what works and then find out the legislation.”
Board of Selectmen chairwoman Judith M. Froman said the ongoing discussion was exactly what Ms. Mastrangelo first said.
“I think this is the preliminary discussion between our board and our city and the next steps have not necessarily been determined how they can be withdrawn,” said Ms. Froman.
Selectman Jared P. MacDonald agreed with Ms. Froman’s claim that Tuesday night there was a preliminary discussion of what the board would like to see in the draft amendment. Mr MacDonald said it was an opportunity to inform the public about “some of the thought processes that we have already had”.
“This is obviously just a preliminary, simple notification of minor matters that can be discussed so the general public can be involved and know where we are going,” he said.
A motion was made and unanimously approved for Mr. Potter to enter into discussions with the Board of Directors of the Water Conservation Fund to develop a language to change state law. The changed language must be submitted to the selection committee for approval at a later date.
Article 13 was also raised on Tuesday evening, calling for the Bourne Police Chief to be removed from the civil service. During the annual city meeting, Bourne city administrator Anthony E. Schiavi argued that removing the position from the constraints of the civil service gives the city more flexibility in hiring police chiefs.
Mr Schiavi said the civil service is asking the city to hire whoever performs the highest tests on an exam, ignoring the qualities the city might expect from its police chief. As a result, he said, “We are allowing a system, not the community, to decide who will be the chief of police.”
The article was approved by 62 votes to 52.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Schiavi informed the board that he had been working with Bourne City Councilor Robert S. Troy on the formulation of the petition to be submitted to the state. The petition reflected the wording of Article 13.
Mr Schiavi said that once the board votes on the bill, they will have a certificate of voting and submit numerous copies of the petition to the State House and Senate. A copy goes to State Representative David T. Vieira (R-Falmouth), said Schiavi.
“He will carry the ball for us, with the rest of the delegation, to make this happen,” he said.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the draft petition presented that night.