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In-Town Report

In-Town Report
March 13th

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    Itr march 13 2011 Itr march 13 2011 Document Transcript

    • Brought to you from the FARSIDE of Chelmsford
    • March 2, 2011 -The Town of Chelmsford and Chelmsford Firefighters Local 1939 have ratified a three-year collective bargainingagreement for the period of July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2013.The agreement provides an increase in the firefighter compensation schedule of 2% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, 1% inFY 2012, and 2.5% in FY13. The agreement also provides for the conversion of the employee and retiree BlueCross HMO health insurance plan to the lower premium Blue Cross Network Blue New England Options healthplan. Firefighters will also be subject to random drug and alcohol testing and required to provide evidence of anannual physical examination. A copy of the Memorandum of Agreement is linked here. The new collective bar- heregaining agreement will be made available once it is signed.- PAUL COHENChelmsford Town Manager Firefighters OK contract, pay raise By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com 03/02/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD - A wage freeze is thawing for town firefighters with a new three-year contract providing a5.6 percent raise in the departments pay scale. Town firefighters and teachers were among the only munici-pal unions that failed to reach a contract agreement with town officials last year. The rest of the townsunions settled on a one-year agreement with no wage increase.The new firefighters contract, which expires June 30, 2013, provides a 2 percent pay raise in the first year, a1 percent salary increase in the second year and a 2.5 percent hike in the final year. That means a firefighterat the top of the pay scale, making a base of $50,377 in 2007-2009, will make about $53,195 in base pay in2012-2013. The majority of the departments 49 firefighters are at the top of the pay scale, according to townrecords. Base pay does not include overtime, or other perks such as educational benefits.Town Manager Paul Cohen said the agreement signals changes in the economy, with the bulk of the in-crease going out into fiscal 2013. "At some point, youve got to pay people," Cohen said. "Theyve people,gone years with zero and 1 percent increases. The feeling is that after four years of stateaid cuts, this is the end of state aid cuts and things will stabilize enough to give inflation -ary pay increases." increases.In 2009, all town unions agreed to a one-year pay freeze amid deep cuts to state aid. The pay-freeze agree-ments followed mid-year budget cuts, orcing the layoffs of more than a dozen employees. To try and savejobs, employees opted to forfeit wage increases. Police patrol officers and superior officers both agreed tothree-year pacts in October that provided no changes in wages. Instead of pay raises, the town agreed topick up the states portion of the Quinn Bill. The Quinn Bill provides bonuses to officers who further their edu-cation.The state paid half of the incentive but cut the funding in 2009 when the economy choked state spending.Cohen said hell be working out two-year contracts for all unions with one-year agreements set to expire thisyear. By 2013, Cohen hopes to put all municipal unions back on the same contract schedule of three years.Firefighters also agreed to increasing health-insurance co-pays from $15 per office visit to $20. The townshealth-insurance savings by converting to the Blue Cross HMO options plan will be $47,682. In addition, thetown now reserves the right to conduct random drug and alcohol tests.
    • Chelmsford answers fire station comparison questions By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Feb 22, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordChelmsford —The town recently answered concerns about a proposed fire station on Wilson and Chelmsfordstreets. In particular, Permanent Building Committee Co-Chairman Pat Maloney addressed acomparison people have made between the proposed $9.1 million station and a $3.7 million firestation planned in Pelham, N.H.At a Board of Selectmen meeting two weeks, ago, Maloney reminded people a larger, more ex-pensive station was suggested at Town Meeting last year and rejected. The town came backwith a more conservative proposal, said Maloney, who does not believe the station should befurther reduced in scale.“We must be prepared for different things than a rural community with no riversor highways or railroads,” Maloney said. railroads,Maloney compared the proposed station to fire stations in other towns. In Franklin, whose popu-lation is approximately 31,000, a $9.3 million, 22,000-square-foot fire station was completed in2008. In the same year, a $6.7 million, 15-thousand-square foot station was completed inGrafton, whose population is 17,500. Given these numbers, Maloney said, a $9.1 million stationin a town of 34,000 is reasonable.According to Maloney, during a conversation with the architect of the fire station in Pelham, helearned the Pelham station has been rejected and scaled down multiple times already. And un-like in Chelmsford, Pelham officials will not have to install a traffic signal, demolish an old stationor relocate softball fields to make way for their fire station.Also, New Hampshire does things a little differently from Massachusetts when it comes to thesekinds of projects. In New Hampshire, there are no state-mandated prevailing wage rates – an el-ement that will add seven figures to Chelmsford’s fire station project, Maloney said. Anothercostly aspect of the project will be complying with Massachusetts’ strict building and energycodes.Finally, Maloney pointed out the Pelham station is to be built using stucco, which is meant forstructures in warmer climates and does not tend to last in New England. The Chelmsford sta-tion, on the other hand, will be built with concrete insulated exterior walls.The town offices and the police station are built from the same materials, said Maloney – steel,brick and concrete – and have been standing for several decades.“To cut back at all would be a disservice to the community,” Maloney said. “We want community,to build the 50-year, first-class building the community deserves.” deserves.Maloney also tried to ease concerns about the cost of the project. The station project will add $7to the tax bill of an average single-family household in 2012, $13 in 2013 and another $7 in2014. But overall, he explained, the town’s debt is actually declining as the school renovationand sewer projects are paid off – in the end, people will be paying no more than they are now.Maloney acknowledged debt schedules can be complicated, but urged confused residents toask questions of their town officials.“We encourage phone calls. Don’t make assumptions,” Maloney said. “We can prob - assumptions,ably answer why we made the decisions we did.” did.The Center Station proposal will comebefore the public at least once beforethe article is finalized and approved bythe Board of Selectmen for the AprilTown Meeting warrant. At Town Meet-ing, Chelmsford precinct representa-tives will decide whether to go forwardwith the plan.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • New Chelmsford fire station has many obstacles to cross By Monica Jimenez GateHouse News Service Feb 22, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordA plan to build new Chelmsford Fire Department headquarters at Wilson and Chelmsford streets is gainingmomentum, but a few hurdles must be cleared before work can begin.History1956 Center Station is built.1987 The town begins considering options to replace the deteriorating station.April 2010 A proposal for station on Wilson and Chelmsford streets is rejected at Town Meeting.Jan. 24, 2011 The Permanent Building Committee proposes a smaller, less expensive station on Wilson andChelmsford streets or on North Road and Crosby LaneFeb. 7, 2011 The Board of Selectmen vote to pursue a fire station on Wilson and Chelmsford streetsComing upMarch through April The town will hold public input sessions to get feedback on the fire station plan.April The warrant article proposing a debt exclusion to pay for the fire station must be approved by the Se-lectmen.April The article must be approved by Chelmsford precinct representatives at Town Meeting and voters at thepolls.May through September If the article has been approved, station design documents will be prepared.October Construction will begin.Fall 2012 The new fire department headquarters will open.Cost estimates$7,004,123 New construction and site development, including apparatus bays, administration and operationssupport space on both floors, and traffic lights$2,124, 206 Soft costs, including architectural and engineering fees, furnishings, softball fields replacement,demolition of existing fire station, and administrative and construction contingency allowances$9,128,329 Total project cost
    • Local group pushes for investigation of town officials By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Feb 22, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/newsThe new organization Cheating Chelmsford has launched an email campaign against Town Manager PaulCohen and local attorney Phil Eliopoulos, who is a Town Meeting representative and former selectman.In a press release Tuesday, Feb. 22, the group explained their goal is to encourage Chelmsford residents tocontact their state senators and representatives and complain about Cohen and Eliopoulos.“This email campaign is our way of getting Beacon Hill to pay attention to what has beenhappening in Chelmsford,” said spokesman Spencer Kimball. “For far too long, citizens have Chelmsford,been left without recourse while Paul Cohen and Phil Eliopoulos exploit their positions forprofit at the expense of the town.” town.Cheating Chelmsford has described itself as a group of concerned local residents focused on investigatingpossible wrongdoing by the Town Manager, particularly concerning Cohen’s decision not to purchase land at9 North Road."There is no basis to these continued unfounded allegations," Cohen said Tuesday. "Also, I do allegations,not believe that the legislators seek or the Attorney General undertakes criminal investiga -tions as a result of political pressure." pressure.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Cheating Chelmsford begins campaign By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Mar 04, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordFliers, bumper stickers, robocalls, canvassers, mass e-mails, a website – at this time of year one would think such an out-reach effort was a candidate’s campaign for office, but it’s actually the work of Cheating Chelmsford, a group working to re-move two town officials from their positions.“We’ve had our Phil of Cohen,” read the bumper stickers the Cohen,group is distributing this week. The stickers refer to Chelmsford TownManager Paul Cohen and local attorney Phil Eliopoulos, a former se-lectman and current Town Meeting representative. Cheating Chelms-ford claims Eliopoulos conspired, with Cohen’s help, to get property at9 North Road sold to Eliopoulos’s father Michael, who is now buildingan office building there, rather than to the town, which briefly eyed the site for a central fire station.But proving this theory will require an investigation – so CheatingChelmsford is rallying residents to ask their representatives and sena- Is this really the guy behindtors for one. "CHEATING CHELMSFORD.com" ?“I don’t know why no one has looked into this. I’m interested Or is he justin shedding light on the matter,” said Cheating Chelmsford matter another hired hand?spokesman and Springfield-based attorney Spencer Kimball in a phoneinterview Monday. CLICK HERE “In the long term, our goal is full transparency.” transparency. for his WebsiteIt’s a familiar story. Chelmsford resident Roland Van Liew and local at- He specializes intorney Richard McClure have been fighting the 9 North Road develop- unique campaign plansment by Epsilon Group, Michael Eliopoulos’ company, for more than six signature gathering, direct mail, phone advocacy, grassroots planningmonths. Both have claimed Cohen and Eliopoulos wrongfully used theirpositions as town officials to get the project approved. Van Liew hassent multiple accusatory mailings and requested state and federalethics investigations, while McClure is in the process of suing severaltown boards.Van Liew is head of Better Not Bigger, a local group whose aims and methods closely resemble those of Cheating Chelms-ford. He said he supports this new organization, which according to Kimball is funded by private donors.“I contribute resources to the group, just as I will to any group that I know will fight for clean govern -
    • ment in our town,” Van Liew said. town,But though Kimball said he has met with Van Liew and McClure, he did not credit them with the genesis of the group andwould not name the Chelmsford friends who reportedly asked him to be spokesman. He suggested identifying them mightmake them targets.“You saw what happened to Laurie Myers,” said Kimball. “In this toxic atmosphere, candidates are afraid to Myers,run for office.” office.Myers withdrew her candidacy for the Board of Selectmen last week, citing harassing phone calls, a negative political at-mosphere and an unwanted endorsement from Van Liew.A teacher of public policy and advocacy at colleges around Boston, Kimball said he decided to get involved in Chelmsfordafter researching the situation and concluding his disgruntled friends had a case. He said he has approached political play-ers in town, including the selectmen, and is hoping candidates in the upcoming local election will be sympathetic to Cheat-ing Chelmsford.Kimball pointed out Chelmsford officials throw around significant amounts of money each year, such as when approvingmultimillion-dollar construction projects. Their actions should be scrutinized as closely as those of their state and federalcounterparts, he argued.“You always look at small towns and see there’s no oversight – there’s no accountability,” Kimball said. accountability,“People get comfortable with back room deals. Chelmsford is a shining example of what’s wrong withsmall town government.” government.Eliopoulos called Cheating Chelmsford’s efforts baseless attacks on town volunteers, while Cohen commented on thegroup’s flier.“This latest flier continues to mislead the public by the use of half-truths and false statements,” Cohen statementssaid.Chelmsford resident Susan Gates, director of the Chelmsford Center for the Arts and temporary member of the PermanentBuilding Committee, said she received one of the robocalls and does not approve. Her caller ID showed a non-local num-ber, she said, and the caller mispronounced Eliopoulos’s name and that of state Rep. Jim Arciero, revealing a lack of famil-iarity with Chelmsford figures and politics.She said she does not think Cheating Chelmsford’s initiative is improving the tone of local politics.“People in general don’t like it,” she said of the robocalls. “A lot of people are afraid to say what they think it,— no one wants to become a target.” targetCopyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Eliopoulos to sue Van Liew ITR●FACEBOOK 3/2/11I have hired the firm of Todd & Weld, LLP to file a Complaint against Roland Van Liew and hiscompany Hands on Technology Transfer, Inc.For too long, Mr. Van Liew has printed false and misleadinginformation about me and my character and I look forwardto proving my case with the court.The Complaint sets forth over 50 separate counts of defamationby Mr. Van Liew and Hands on Technology Transfer, Inc.However, this case is being filed not only for me, but on behalfof all of our residents and town officials that have beenwronglyattacked by Mr. Van Liew.It is time that someone challenges Mr. Van Liew and histactics that have been unjustly directed at those who havedone so much for our town. ELIOPOULOS  VS  VAN LIEW- Philip Eliopoulos
    • Attack website spurs lawsuit Former Chelmsford selectman calls allegations false and defamatory By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com 03/04/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- Philip Eliopoulos said the website"Cheating Chelmsford" was the last straw.The former selectman has filed a lawsuit againstChelmsford businessman Roland Van Liew, claimingdefamation of character for more than 50 separate ac-counts of alleged false statements made through massmailings and via the Internet from 2009 to present.Eliopoulos said his name was most recently draggedthrough mud by Van Liew on www.cheatingchelms-ford.com, a website that accuses Eliopoulos and otherChelmsford officials of corruption. Van Liew told TheSun yesterday that he neither created nor plays a rolein the websites operations.But Eliopoulos claims he and his lawyers, the Boston-based firm of Todd & Weld LLP, have traced the sitesIP address to Van Liews Chelmsford business, HandsOn Technology Transfer."For too long, Mr. Van Liew has printed false and misleading information about me and mycharacter and I look forward to proving my case with the court," Eliopoulos said. "This case is court,being filed not only for me, but on behalf of all of our residents and town officials thathave been wrongly attacked by Mr. Van Liew." Liew.Van Liew filed a defamation suit of his own against Eliopoulos in January. The suit claims that when Eliopou-los publicly called Van Liews statements "blatant lies and unsubstantiated attacks," it damaged Van attacks,Liews reputation in the community.Eliopoulos is also asking the court to throw out Van Liews claim, which Eliopoulos said has no merit.The dueling lawsuits revolve around the Eliopoulos familys controversial building project at 9 North Road.Eastern Bank owned the North Road parcel, which it sold to Michael Eliopoulos, Philip Eliopoulos father, for$400,000 in 2009.Van Liew, who founded the anti-growth group Better Not Bigger, which opposes the project, has accusedEliopoulos, Town Manager Paul Cohen and a host of other officials of working behind closed doors soEliopoulos family could purchase the land."Roland Van Liew has repeatedly made accusations of corruption that he knows are nottrue," Eliopoulos said. "He doesnt have the facts to support what hes saying because itstrue,simply not true. That is inflammatory." inflammatory.Eliopoulos alleges that Van Liew, under the group, Slow Growth Initiative and Bigger Not Better, sent mail-ings to thousands of Chelmsford residents falsely accusing him of using his public office for economic gain,being corrupt, unethical and engaging in fraud.On the website, for example, Eliopoulos is accused of voting against the town purchasing 9 North Roadwhile he was serving on the Board of Selectman.Eliopoulos said the selectmen never cast any votes concerning the purchase of 9 North Road. That informa-tion is publicly available through meeting minutes, which Van Liew had access to, yet he continued to pub-lish false statements regardless of the truth, Eliopoulos said.In his long list of alleged false complaints made by Van Liew, Eliopoulos also states that Van Liew fictional-ized a state investigation against Eliopoulos and that Van Liew continues to say Eliopoulos violated a
    • preservation restriction, which a state Land Court judge said he did not do. Van Liew said yesterday that he hadnt yet seen the lawsuit, but stands by his mailings. "The research by me and others into ethics violations by Phil Eliopoulos and Paul Cohen has proven disturbingly fruit - ful and has made it clear that Chelmsford town officials simply dont care to uphold the law," Van Liew said. "Were not asking law, for the moon. We want the lying by Cohen and Eliopoulos and other officials to stop. We want the law upheld." upheld. One of the site’s videos CLICK HERE The onslaught of political attacks in town prompted Laurie Myers, a Town Meeting repre-sentative and high-profile victims advocate, to drop out of a two-way race for one selectman seat.Myers pulled out after an endorsement by Van Liew in an e-mail blast that also slammed her opponent, JimLane. Myers said the attacks have created a poisonous environment in town that do nothing to solve prob-lems, only add to them."I did not want to be his political weapon to attack Jim," she said of Van Liew. Jim,Van Liew said he didnt hear from Myers herself that she was upset about the endorsement. But he saidMyers reached out to him, asking if hed support her campaign and he said yes."She then sent me an e-mail which stated, Thank you so much, Roland. Your words andsupport mean more to me than you know, " Van Liew said. know,Despite their differences, Eliopoulos and Van Liew seemed to agree on one thing yesterday: Both said thetruth will come out in court. Another lawsuit filed over 9 North Road controversy By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service 04, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordChelmsford attorney Philip Eliopoulos is suing resident Roland Van Liew for defamation. Represented bycounsel from Boston firm Todd & Weld, he is accusing Van Liew of making 50 false statements attacking hischaracter and reputation.Eliopoulos filed the suit Thursday, along with a request to dismiss a defamation suit Van Liew filed againsthim in early January. He said he is confident Van Liew’s action will be dismissed because it is not sufficientlyspecific.Eliopoulos’s own suit, on the other hand, is extremely specific, offering specific quotes from mailings andonline posts Van Liew wrote in 2010 and 2011.One quote is from an e-mail sent in November 2010 and posted on the website of Van Liew’s group Betternot Bigger: “Clearly, the fact that Mr. Eliopoulos has massive conflicts of interest, hasabused his insider knowledge and influence, and has lied repeatedly to the good people ofChelmsford fails to ring an ethical bell with our town manager.” manager.
    • Eliopoulos also quotes accusations made against him by Cheating Chelmsford, a group he says Van Liew isbehind, though Van Liew has denied it.“It’s not just a question of defending myself,” Eliopoulos said. “His different attacks on differ - myselfent people have had a negative impact on the town.” town.Some have speculated the number of vacant sets on town committees and uncontestedraces for public office have been due to a hostile political climate created partly by VanLiew, who has pushed for state and federal investigations of Chelmsford officials andtried to get two Planning Board members recalled.Eliopoulos said he expects Van Liew will pay for his actions. He will push for a discoveryto be conducted in the next month or so; the lawsuit could take a year or two. If Eliopou-los wins, Van Liew could be asked to hand over a hefty sum.But Van Liew said he is not worried, maintaining his accusations have all been true.“Anyone can sue, but truth is an absolute defense,” Van Liew said. defense,Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved LOWELL SUN EDITORIAL Laurie Myers made her point The Lowell Sun 03/04/2011 www.lowellsun.com/editorialsLaurie Myers should be running for an open seat on the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen. That she isnt istestimony to the poisoned political atmosphere that exists in town, fueled by deep divisions concerning the 9North Road construction project that is now a fait accompli although a certain element in the communitywont put it to rest.Myers announced her candidacy in early February, setting up a two-way race with candidate Jim Lane.However, on Feb. 18 Myers withdrew from the race because she refused to have her candidacy exploitedby an independent faction that promised to wage an attack campaign war against Lane."I wanted to run to give people a choice, but things quickly turned negative, with disturb -ing, anonymous phone calls and a recent negative e-mail about my opponent and manyothers in town," Myers told The Sun. "I feel that my candidacy would town,just add more fuel to the fire at this point in time." time.The independent faction is led by Chelmsford resident Roland Van Liew. He isthe founder of the Better Not Bigger Alliance, an anti-growth group that stri-dently opposed the 9 North Road project involving the Eliopoulos family, whichincludes former Selectman Peter Eliopoulos.The issue sparked a contentious debate for nearly three years and is still thesubject of legal proceedings.When Myers announced her decision to run, Van Liew promptly endorsed hercandidacy and that of Planning Board candidate Richard McClure. Van Liewsent out messages saying "both have opponents who are an integralpart of the old-boy network and have a track record of actingagainst the best interests of the towns residents in favor ofcronies and special interest lobbyists." lobbyists.Myers wasnt buying any of it and wanted no part of it. "I was not going tobe (Van Liews) political weapon to attack Jim," she said. Jim,Judging by Van Liews history of waging a relentless and often bitter campaignagainst anyone opposing his viewpoint, Myers probably was right to assumethe worst was yet to come.
    • Was Myers withdrawal a triumph for democracy? Was this fair to the residents of Chelmsford?In Myers mind, she feels it was. She said she wasnt bullied from the race -- just the opposite. "I stood upto Roland Van Liew. He didnt get his way," she told The Sun. way,Shes right. The candidate Van Liew opposed, Jim Lane, will now be a selectman.Myers said she doesnt dislike Van Liew. However, she said she disagrees with his steamroller style of per-sonal attacks that alienates people and offers no solutions.Myers said the town has to put aside the divisive issues of the recent past and move forward. Weve gotchallenges, she said, and together we need to find solutions. "Thats why I was running for office," office,said Myers.Under the circumstances, Myers felt her message would have been drowned out by Van Liews acrimoniousmissives aimed at Lane.It makes you wonder why Roland Van Liew doesnt run for office, but is content to slam others from the side-lines.We dont know if Laurie Myers did the right thing or not by dropping out of the race. After all, voters havebeen denied a choice and others might be discouraged from running for office in the future.Its clear, however, that Laurie Myers wasnt going to be Van Liews "kamikaze pilot" in a vitriolic politicalcampaign. For that she deserves a multitude of credit. WHO IS really cheating Chelmsford ? The Lowell Sun Political Column by Rita Savard March 6, 2011Several critics of Chelmsford businessman Roland Van Liew are now calling him the “spin doctor”. TownMeeting Rep Laurie Myers is the latest to step up and say Van Liew has twisted the facts to suit his ownagenda. Myers recently pulled out of a two-way race for one open selectman’s seat following an endorse-ment from Van Liew.In Van Liew’s e-mail praising Myers, he also slammed her opponent, Jim Lane. Myers told the Sun sherefused to be a pawn in Van Liew’s political war over a 9 North Road building project. Van Liew said Myersdidn’t mention that she was ruffled by the endorsement.But Myers tells a different story, with an e-mail she sent to Van Liew dated Feb. 17.“It was unfair of you to prop me up as your candidate based on one issue, “ she wrote.“The reason I haven’t taken you up on your offer for support is because I didn’t wantthis to be a one-issue race and now you’ve changed that”. thatVan Liew was sued this week for defamation by PhilipEliopoulos, whose family is constructing he NorthRoad office building that Van Liew opposes. Eliopou-los said Van Liew’s website, “Cheating Chelmsford,”which accuses Eliopoulos of fraud, was the last straw.Van Liew said he didn’t create, nor does he operate,the website. But Eliopoulos said the IP address wastraced to Van Liew’s Chelmsford office.Myers said that Van Liew’s attacks have hurt morethan helped, name-calling instead of offering realsolutions.
    • TOWN TALKwith Dennis Ready and Mary Gregoire March 2nd 2011 CLICK HERE for clip Philip Eliopoulos discusses MARRIAGE & LAWSUITSBut not necessarily in that orderCLICKHEREforclipLaurie Myers Town Meeting Rep, former SelectmanCandidate, victims rights advocate discusses thenew Fire Station proposal. And sometimes ...Dennis lets Laurie talk
    • POLITICALLY INCORRECTwith  TOM CHRISTIANOThis new P.I. Show covered the following topics: the Chelmsford election races for Planning Bd,School Committee & Selectman....the proposed Fire Station...the pending lawsuit &depositions...the North Town Hall renovations and June 25th fundraiser..the school teacherscontract...Electronic Town Meeting voting....& the sidewalk snow removal warrant article.Panelists (l to r) Planning Board candidate Dick McClure, School Committee member Evelyn Thoren, TC, Town Meeting Representatives Laura Lee & Andrew Silinsh. CLICK HERE for show
    • ASK THE MANAGERTo refresh your memory last issue I inquiredabout article 20 on the Town Meeting warrant-----------------------------------------------------------IN-TOWN REPORT:In this years spring Town Meeting warrant you proposean article to follow Billericas lead and impose fineson residents who do not shovel the sidewalks in frontof their homes.First we are not Billerica and second who owns thesidewalk in front of my house. Is this warrant articlenothing more than a new revenue stream under the guiseof public safety?PAUL COHEN :I placed an article on the Town Meeting warrant that would require all property own-ers, not just residents, along the Towns arterial and collector roads where there is apaved sidewalk to remove snow from the sidewalk within 24 hours after a snowfall.Sidewalks are located in the Towns right of way. It has been 20 years since Town Meet-ing has considered this issue. Even with a $1.14M snow and ice budget, the DPW does nothave the resources to clear snow from the Towns 200 miles of roadway, 50 miles of side-walks, and 28 municipal buildings in a timely manner. The Towns 2 sidewalk plow opera-tors prioritize the school areas since some children walk to school.I have received concerns from parents of elementary school children, the elderly, andother residents regarding the dangers of having to walk in busy roadways such as Mid-dlesex Street and Dalton Road because the sidewalks have not been cleared of snow. Iwould rather present this safety concern to the Town Meeting prior to a serious acci-dent, rather than afterwards.This has nothing to do with raising revenue from fines. The Town does not raise anysignificant revenue from the current bylaws that allow for fines for those who depositsnow in the streets or park illegally during snow removal operations. We warn peoplerather than issue tickets at every opportunity.ITR:Will the businesses in town be responsible for cleaning the sidewalks in frontof their stores as well or are the fines just for the residential areas?PCAll property owners that abut the selected list of sidewalks on the Towns main roadswould be responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks.
    • This month I continue the questioning on this article.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ITR:Has there eve r been any lawsuits against the town over un-shoveled sidewalks? everPC:There is an active claim against the Town regarding an elderly woman who fracturedher ankle from a fall on a snowy sidewalk in Vinal Square several weeks ago.ITR:Have you contacted the town counsel to see who is currently liabel for sidewalkaccidents and who would be liabel after the article passes?PC:It is the opinion of Town Counsel that liability for sidewalks accidentsremains with the Town regardless of whether the Town were to approve asidewalk snow removal bylaw.ITR:Then I guess this Supreme Court decision would not applyto Chelmsford? PAPADOPOULOS v. TARGET CORPORATION CLICK  HEREPC:Town Counsel is aware of the Target Corporation case.Here is the detailed opinion:In my opinion, enactment of the Bylaw would not transfer the Town’s liability under G.L. c. 84 to property owners,managers and tenants or otherwise alter the Town’s potential liability caused by an individual’s injury from snowand ice on a sidewalk where the same is set by statute.In my further opinion, the Town’s enactment of the Bylaw may constitute a valid defense to a claim brought by aninjured person, and may also allow the Town to seek contribution from a property owner, manager or tenant to theextent the Town is found to be liable. However, adoption of the Bylaw would impose certain potential burdens onproperty owners, managers and tenants, including financial burdens, where the Bylaw would require ice and snowremoval and provide for enforcement in the event of non-compliance, in my opinion.Lastly, there are no requirements found in statutes, regulations or case law of which I am aware that impose a timeframe or other deadline by which the Town would be required to remove snow and ice. Therefore, in my opinion, to
    • satisfy the Town’s statutory obligations with regard to maintenance of public ways, the Town must generally clearsnow and ice on public sidewalks following inclement weather in a reasonable time frame that keeps sidewalks rea-sonably safe and open for travel.The Town’s enactment of the Bylaw would not transfer to a private party any liability for an injury caused as a resultof snow and ice on a public sidewalk since the Town has an independent statutory obligation to maintain its side-walks in a reasonable and safe manner, in my opinion.As you know, G.L. c. 84 governs the Town’s liability for damages or injuries for defects on public ways, includingsidewalks abutting public ways. To recover against the Town for an injury resulting from snow and ice on a publicsidewalk, an individual must show that there was a defect in the public way, apart from the accumulation of snowand ice. G.L. c. 84, §17; Gamere v. 236 Commonwealth Avenue Condominium Assoc., 19 Mass.App.Ct. 359, 363(1985). Further, under G.L. c. 84, with or without enactment of the Bylaw, the Town may only be liable for injuriesresulting from a defect on its sidewalks if the defect was the sole cause of the injuries. If either an individual’s neg-ligent conduct or the wrongful conduct of a third person such as a property owner, manager or tenant, is also acause of the injuries, that circumstance bars recovery against the Town. G.L. c. 84, §15; Tomasello v. Common-wealth, 398 Mass. 284 (1986); Scholl v. New England Power Service Co., 340 Mass. 267 (1960). As such, in my opin-ion, the adoption of the Bylaw does not alter the Town’s potential liability under G.L. c. 84 since theTown will not be liable for any injuries or damage caused by a person’s fall on snow and ice so long as the sidewalkdoes not contain any defects and is maintained in a reasonably safe and convenient manner.However, adoption of the Bylaw would allow the Town to require property owners, managers and tenants to clearsidewalks, and further, would allow the Town to enforce the Bylaw in the event that such action was not taken. Inthese respects, adoption of the Bylaw does impose burdens on private parties, in my opinion.As you are aware, there is no way to prevent an individual from filing a claim or lawsuit against the Town for anyreason, including as a result of injuries or damage that occur due to snow and ice on a public sidewalk.Generally speaking, I would expect that an individual injured as a result of snow and ice on a public sidewalk tofile a claim or lawsuit against the Town, as well as the owner, manager or tenant of the property since, as you know,the Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that property owners are now responsiblefor clearing all snow and ice, both natural and unnatural accumulations, from their property within a reasonableamount of time. Papadopolous v. Target Corporation, 457 Mass. 368 (2010).In my opinion, if the Town adopts the Bylaw, it could defend a lawsuit brought by an injured person by assertingthat it is not subject to liability under G.L. c. 84 since, if applicable, there was no defecton the sidewalk besides snow and ice and that the Town was not the sole cause of the injuries since the propertyowner, manager or tenant was responsible for clearing the snow and ice under the Bylaw.In the event the Town is sued for a fall due to a property owner, tenant or manager’s failure to remove snow underthe Bylaw, the Town could also assert that it is entitled to contribution by the owner, manager or tenant for any
    • damages assessed against it since they, not the Town, had an obligation to remove snow and ice on the sidewalksunder the Bylaw.I further note that the Town’s liability for damages under G.L. c. 84 is limited to $5000.00. In the event litigation isfiled against the Town, I would expect that with or without the Town’s adoption of the Bylaw, a property owner,manager or tenant would claim that it is not liable because the Town, not the private party, owns the sidewalk.In my further opinion, there are no Massachusetts statutes, cases or guidelines that impose a specific time periodby which the Town must remove snow and ice from its sidewalks located within a public way. Massachusetts caselaw provides only that a town’s obligation to remove snow and ice on sidewalks located within public ways is “notan absolute or inflexible one,” but rather depends on the character of the location and the type and extent of travelon the public way. Green v. Wilmington, 339 Mass. 142, 145 (1959). Significant discretion is afforded a town withrespect to snow and ice removal due to the heavy financial pressures on local government. Sturdy v. PlanningBoard of Hingham, 32 Mass. App. Ct. 72 (1992). As such, it is my opinion that removal of snow and ice from side-walks undertaken within any reasonable time period that keeps sidewalks within public ways reasonably safe andopen for travel will be sufficient to satisfy the Town’s statutory obligations under G.L. c. 84.Accordingly, I recommend that the Town prioritize its snow and ice removal on its sidewalks to those areas mostused for pedestrian traffic in Town. Janelle Austin, Esq. Kopelman and Paige, P.C. 101 Arch Street, 12th FloorITR: Boston, MA 02110Notice the lawyer (617) 556-0007frequently uses the FAX (617) 654-1735phrase jaustin@k-plaw.com“In my opinion”Maybe the townfolk needa 2nd opinion?Maybe this lawyer wouldnot hold your householdresponsible for anaccident on the town ☆ - These devices will come in handy for thesidewalk out in front elderly on the Farside of Chelmsford ifof your house. Town Meeting votes for residents to clean off the towns sidewalks in front of their housesBut another lawyermight take you and yourfamily for all you’vegot.Got an opinion on theissue??? Contact yourTown Meeting Rep beforethey vote on article 20at Town Meeting whichbegins on Monday April25th.Click Here forRep contact info
    • Shoveling bylaw weighs heavily on town By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com 03/07/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- Should property owners shovel their sidewalks?Town Meeting tossed out the idea 20 years ago, but this winters barrage of storms prompted Town Manager PaulCohen to put a snow-removal bylaw back on the table. If Town Meeting approves it, residents will be required tobreak out the shovel or pay a fine of $25."It comes down to an issue of public safety," Cohen said. "Our concern is not having schoolchild - safety,ren, elderly, disabled, or anybody for that matter, walk in the streets." streets.Chelmsford Department of Public Works crews labor to keep up with snow removal after a storm, but simply cantget to the 50-plus miles of town sidewalks in a day, Cohen said.In some cases, it has taken DPW crews more than three days to get to all of the towns major sidewalks. Impassa-ble sidewalks create a major health hazard, Cohen added.The town is now facing a lawsuit after an elderly woman fractured her ankle from a fall on a snow-covered sidewalkin the Vinal Square section of North Chelmsford.Supporters of the warrant article say property owners should be responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front oftheir homes, while opponents argue the proposed bylaw is unfair because it only includes sidewalks on the townsmain streets."I dont think its fair to ask residents who live on the main streets to remove snow when we ownequipment to do that," said Town Meeting Representative Joanne Anderson. that,A visiting nurse who works in Lowell where there is a fine imposed for unshoveled sidewalks, Anderson said peoplestill dont seem to get the job done."People will shovel a foot-wide space and only to a point, so then you still end up having to walkin the street," she said. street,Anderson also said she doesnt think its fair to impose fines on the elderly or anyone else who cant get around toshoveling the sidewalk.Cohen said if a resident was out of town during a storm, they could still reap a finefor failing to shovel.Resident Donna Barbosa likes the idea of a snow-removal law to get people thinking about public safety."I was surprised to see that sidewalks along Route 110 were blocked, because there are a lot ofbusinesses in the area," Barbosa said. "I cant imagine what it would be like trying to get around if area,you were handicapped. The main streets, especially on the way to schools, should be clear."clear.Town Meeting Representative Pat Magnell said she thought the creation of a sidewalk snow-removal bylaw is agood idea in theory, but doesnt see how it would be enforced.Matthew Cilento agreed."Theres not enough manpower or desire to enforce the laws we do have on the books, so whyput another one on the books thats just going to sit there?" Cilento asked. there?Cohen said enforcement would most likely be handled through the Police Department.Other residents have voiced concerns about getting sued if the bylaw passes.According to state law, property owners can be held liable if they do not make a reasonable effort to clear snow andice from their walkways. But Cohen said liability will still be on the town because the town is the underlying propertyowner.Town Meeting can vote to whittle down the list of sidewalks marked for the bylaw, or decide to include the entiretown."This is not a revenue-driven measure," Cohen said. measure,"The goal is not to fine people, but to get sidewalks clear." clear.
    • Reject Chelmsford snow-removal article The Lowell Sun 03/11/2011 www.lowellsun.com/editorialsI am sending this letter to all Town Meeting representatives to urge you not to pass Article 20 at the upcomingTown Meeting in Chelmsford.My wife and I are longtime residents. We are retired and walk for at least an hour every day. We use the sidewalksa lot and I really appreciate the effort the town has expended to add to the number of sidewalks and improve thesidewalks at every opportunity.I live on Grady Drive with a long portion of my property abutting Mill Road. Mill Road is one of the roads affectedby the proposed article.The town sidewalks in many cases, including Mill Road, are located directly adjacent to the paved travel lanes.There is no buffer strip between the pavement and the sidewalk. This means that all of the snow from the road-ways is pushed and stacked by the town plows onto the sidewalk.This leaves a long stack of compacted ice and snow. As any of you who have tried it know, this material is not re-movable by shovel or normal snow-removal equipment.The town has invested in the equipment to perform this task. In my opinion, the town does a good job of removingthe packed snow and ice from the sidewalks. In my neighborhood they are usually cleared within one to two days.We have walked on these sidewalks all winter and find them adequate, with care, for our use.I believe that current town equipment and personnel provide the most efficient and cost-effective solution forsnow removal from town-owned sidewalks.If the reason for the article is privately owned sidewalks, then the article should be amended.If the issue is speed of clearing, then scheduling or additional resources should be examined.I urge you not to pass this article, which, as currently written, cannot be complied with by the typical Chelmsfordhomeowner, without extreme physical or financial hardship.STAN POWERSChelmsford
    • House KOs independent panel; will handle redistricting itself By Chris Camire, ccamire@lowellsun.com 03/03/2011 www.lowellsun.comBOSTON -- A Republican proposal to have an independent commission redraw the states legislative map was shot downyesterday in a vote that fell along party lines -- with one exception.State Rep. Jim Arciero, a Westford Democrat, joined 30 House Republicans in voting to turn the re-districting process over to an independent panel.The measure was opposed by 121 Democrats.Supporters of the amendment argued that taking the redistricting process out of the hands of statelawmakers would create transparency and strip political influence from the process."When I first ran, this was an important issue to me because I felt it would ensurethe fairest outcome possible," Arciero said after yesterdays vote. "When Chelmsford was possible,split from one representative to four, I felt there was a better way to conduct busi -ness."ness. JimWhen Arciero first ran for his House seat in 2008, he called for an independent redistricting commis- Arcierosion, saying he hoped it would result in a district that kept Chelmsford intact.After the 1990 Census, Democrats redrew the legislative maps in a way that made it difficult for some Republicans to keeptheir seats. Republican state Rep. Carol Cleven, who represented Chelmsford, saw her district split into four parts.Today, Chelmsford is represented by Arciero, Rep. Cory Atkins, D-Concord; Rep. David Nangle, D-Lowell; and Rep. TomGolden, D-Lowell. Chelmsford residents have complained for years that their 34,000-person town does not have true repre-sentation on Beacon Hill.Yesterdays vote means new district maps will be drawn up by the Legislature. A special redistricting committee, consistingof 21 state representatives and seven state senators, will oversee the process.State Rep. Michael Moran, D-Boston, who will head the House Redistricting Committee, promised an open process, start-ing with a dozen public hearings around the state. Redistricting will be given intense scrutiny this year because Massachu-setts is losing one of its 10 seats in the U.S. House in the next election."This process is comprehensive, transparent, and of the likes we have never seen," said Moran. seenMoran said the redistricting panel will work with advocacy groups, hold a dozen hearings across the state, and set up awebsite that residents can use to contact legislators."No one is stopping any party from making suggestions," he said. suggestions,Republicans said the proposal laid out by Moran is an improvement on previous redistricting efforts, but maintained an in-dependent panel would be better."Im always concerned about conflicts of interest," said Rep. Sheila Harrington, R-Groton. "If they had voted in interest,the amendment, it truly would have been a transparent and impartial process. They wouldnt be moti -vated by anyones concern over their own future as a representative or a senator." senator.Rep. Kevin Murphy, D-Lowell, defended his vote to keep redistricting within the Legislature. He said he opposed the inde-pendent commission because one of his responsibilities, an elected official, is to vote on redistricting."We get elected to do certain things, and one of the jobs we have is legislative redistricting," said Murphy. redistricting"The people elected me to do the job. I dont think we should give it to somebody that is not answerableto the voters." voters.Massachusetts will lose a seat in Congress after 2012 because of the rapid growth in states in the South and West. Thestates population grew 3.1 percent over the past decade, increasing from 6,349,097 to 6,547,629, while the nations popu-lation grew 9.7 percent.All of the states current members of Congress are Democrats, meaning redistricting could force two Democratic incum-bents to run against each other in 2012. Lawmakers must also redraw district lines for the state House and Senate.Eleven states drew new districts in the last census cycle with a commission rather than the Legislature, according to Com-mon Cause Massachusetts, a government watchdog group. In the 2002 elections, those states average rate of contesteddistricts was more than 70 percent, while 50 percent of races were contested in states where redistricting is handled by theLegislature.
    • Disagreements over cell tower at water tank Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Thu, Mar 10, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comSome residents want to know why Verizon believes it only needs the building inspector’s OK to install a 102-foot tem-porary monopole to relocate its antenna while the Locke Road water tower is reconstructed."It looks like there is something going on with Verizon down the road," said Bill Martin. "They are going roadto bring in some big lawyer and have some kind of Verizon structure somewhere. We dont knowenough to know what we should be worried about." about.Although the Planning Board opened a public hearing Wednesday on the Chelmsford Water Districts plan to replacethe water tower at 106 Locke Road with a new water tank, Planning Board Chairman Ann McGuigan did not want todiscuss what Verizon might do to ensure service during the year-long construction of the new tank."The issue before this board is short and sweet," said McGuigan. "What is in front of us is recon -struction of the water tower." tower.But Locke Road resident Tom Perkins, who is a lawyer, disagreed with the narrow view the board adopted Wednesday.In a letter addressed to the Members of the Planning Board dated March 8, Perkins states his objections to the pro-posed hearing because the notice for the March 9 session makes no mention of Verizon Wireless operating on the lotas a Wireless Communication Facility (WCF) as regulated under the towns bylaws."Verizon Wireless will not lawfully meet the standards to operate their equipment on the lot at 106Locke Road once their WCF equipment becomes detached from an existing building or structure un -less they are specifically granted permission by the Chelmsford Board of Appeals," wrote Perkins. Appeals"They can only operate their WCF equipment upon a monopole as noted within section 195-67 oncethey become unattached from the existing water tank that now resides on the lot at 106 LockeRoad."Road.Perkins also expressed concerns over a letter from Verizons lawyer Carl Gehring, who states the wireless operatorhas a proposal to erect a 102-foot structure that he deems a "temporary structure," which he contends needs no formalboard approval but simply the OK from Building Inspector Scott Hammond.Hammond approved a building permit for Verizon’s structure without any additional or permitting required."The building inspector has exceeded his authority," said Perkins. authority,Not so, said Community Development Director Evan Belansky.Under the towns bylaws, a temporary structure is permitted with the building inspectors approval. In this case, saidBelansky, Verizons proposal does not trigger a site plan review nor does it require anyregulator board to hold a hearing.Currently the water tank houses a Verizon antenna as well as ones for public safety. Theantennas must be relocated during the construction of the tank. They will then be at-tached to the new tank.Belansky said the water district was not required to include what Verizon planned to doon the property but opted to in an effort for transparency.McGuigan attempted to keep the discussion solely to the water districts plan to recon-struct a water tower at the site. She acknowledged Perkins concerns but agreed with Be-lansky that Wednesday’s meeting was not the proper forum for discussing Verizon."You have a problem with what Scott Hammond has done. We do not haveauthority over the building inspector," said McGuigan. "What is in front of us inspectoris the tank. The other issues that go along with the tank are not before us." us.Perkins, however, pushed the board to consider what Verizon plans to do with a tempo-rary antenna before moving ahead with discussions."I object to you ruling on this with Verizon being on the site plan, unlessyou make a notation in your ruling, that there is no ruling on Verizon Wire -less," said Perkins. "I think this needs to go before the Zoning Board."less Board.McGugian agreed whatever the board decides should include documentation that the de-cision does not apply to anything Verizon might do on the property.The Planning Board agreed to schedule a site walk of the property on Wednesday, March23, at 6 p.m. It also voted to continue the public hearing to its next meeting, which will beheld after the site walk.
    • Teachers signs read "Chelmsford Teachers Get it Done: Fair Contract Now" By Monica Jimenez / staff writer GateHouse News Service Mar 02, 2011 www.wickedlocal.comChelmsford —After a 20-month standoff, a contract agreement has been reached between the ChelmsfordFederation of Teachers and the Chelmsford School District. Union membership voted to acceptthe agreement Monday and the School Committee ratified the deal Tuesday. During Tuesday’sregular meeting, School Committee Chairman Kathy Duffett said neither vote was unanimous.“It has been a long, arduous task. It has requireda great deal of personal sacrifice from all whoparticipated,” Duffett said.participated,The School Committee unanimously ratified the first part ofthe two-contract agreement, which covers July 1, 2009 toJune 30, 2010 and keeps all the terms of the last contractwith a zero percent salary increase. Evelyn Thoren and Kathy Duffett explain their YES vote.But members were divided over the second contract, cover- CLICK HERE for cliping July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013. It establishes a 5 percentincrease over the three-year period, switches the teachers’ health insurance plan from BlueCross Blue Shield HMO to Network Blue and mandates an agency fee for non-union members.School Committee Chairman Kathy Duffett voted in favor of the contract, along with memberEvelyn Thoren and Town Manager Paul Cohen, who was counted as a committee member inthis case.Cohen emphasized the amount the town will save through the health insurance change andsaid he can support instituting the agency fee — teachers benefit from the union’s work whetherthey are members or not, he said. As for the 5 percent increase, Cohen believes the town canprovide it because the worst of the economic downturn is over.Duffett said the contract is consistent with the objectives she focused on during negotiations:Bring down the exorbitant amount spent on health insurance and preserve programs and serv-ices by refusing to lay off teachers.
    • “The students are paramount,” Duffett said. “We want them to have their teachers, paramount,their AP classes, their sports, and whatever they need to prepare them for the fu -ture.”tureBut School Committee members Janet Askenburg and Nick DiSilvio voted against the contract.Askenburg opposed the idea of forcing agency fees on non-union teachers, pointing out it willonly benefit the union at the expense of Chelmsford taxpayers. And contrary to what Cohen be-lieves, she continued, the town cannot sustain such large increases for teachers.DiSilvio agreed.“I’m a realist,” he said. “I preach confronting problems today. I don’t want to kick realist,the can down the road.” road. DiSilvio said a better contract would incorporate a more in- novative approach and suggested rewarding only high-per- forming teachers with increases. A non-School Committee member echoed Askenburg’s criti- cism of the agency fee. Tom Gilroy of Chelmsford’s Republi- can Town Committee approached the committee to argue unions have already become too powerful in Chelmsford and in the rest of Janet Askenburg and Nick DeSilvio explain their NO vote. the country. CLICK HERE for clip“They use the money to fight against taxpayers and to get what they want,” want,Gilroy said.“It happens in every town.” townBut Duffett did not budge in her support of the contract.“The sign of a truly effective, good agreement is when each side feels a littlepain,” Duffett said. “It’s a good agreement when each side gives.”pain gives.She suggested settling the matter of the contract will enable both the teachers and the SchoolCommittee to turn their attention to other things.“We can move on toward our mutual goals,” Duffett said. “We can put this behind goals,us, move forward and have faith in our future.” future.Efforts to reach union representatives were unsuccessful.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Union agency fee is heinous provision The Lowell Sun 03/05/2011 www.lowellsun.com/editorialsThe Chelmsford School Committee voted 3-2 Tuesday night to accept the contract that hadbeen ratified by the teachers union on Monday.While I had no objection to the modest wage increases granted the teachers through June2013, I was outraged by the inclusion of the agency fee provision in the contract. This provisionrequires those teachers who choose not to join the union to pay annual dues to the teachersunion. This heinous provision nullifies the first-year increase for the 25 percent of those teach-ers who had made the decision not to join the union.The adoption of this contract in effect makes the teachers in Chelmsford members of a closedshop. The union dues and the agency fees are then deducted from their town checks and trans-fered to the union. In the case of this past negotiation, the union used taxpayers monies for atownwide mailing in support of their position.Why should the taxpayers of Chelmsford, or any city or town, fund a union whose primary goalis to take more of their hard-earned money? Maybe this is why a great labor leader, GeorgeMeany, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the patron saint of liberal progressives, believed thatthere was no place for unions in the public sector.THOMAS GILROYChelmsford Tom Gilroy speaks to the the School Committee about the new union contract, specifically the inclusion of an agency fee provision in the contract. CLICK HERE  for Clip
    • The School Committee were not the only ones who did not comeup with a unanimous vote on the Teacher’s new contract, Theunion was also at odds on the contract offered as well.In-Town Report:What were some of the reasons the teacher’sunion had for not making it unanimous?Kathryn Chamberlain, PresidentChelmsford Federation of TeachersLocal #3569:You are correct - the Negotiating Team was not unanimous in their de-cision to accept the contract. Two primary concerns were money andhealth care. The money issue which was of great concern is that the %of increase which we received is not enough to bring us up from thebottom of the list of comparison communities. This is an issue forcurrent teachers, who are clearly underpaid compared to those commu-nities (for a complete list, see the flyer mailed out to all Chelmsfordhouseholds), but it is also an issue for the town as a whole, becausethe most qualified teachers, given a choice of communities in which towork, are not going to choose Chelmsford. We need to be able to attractand keep the best possible teaching staff.A second major issue was the change in health care. We offered monthsago to change our plan, provided that the town create a Health Reim-bursement Account, or some similar fund, to assist families who hadmajor illnesses which would place them under a much greater finan-cial burden, due to the increase of co-pays for hospitalization andprescription drugs. Although the cost savings to the town for theplan switch are substantial, there was no willingness to use some ofthose funds to set up such a safety net for employees.
    • Nashoba looks to start stabilization fund Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Fri, Mar 11, 2011 chelmsfordmassnews.comNashoba Valley Technical High School wants to start a stabilization account funded mostlythrough assessment to its seven towns to cover a list of anticipated capital projects.Members of the Nashoba School Committee along with Superintendent Judy Klimkiewicz ap-peared before the Finance Committee Thursday to discuss the proposal,which Town Meeting will vote on next month."The use and purpose of the stabilization fund is for larger capi -tal project you would need to borrow or bond," said Klimkiewicz. bond,"There are issues expected to arise over the next seven years." years.As proposed, the school would establish its account with a $50,000 depositafter transferring funds from other budget line items. JudyThen it would put $118,188 into the fund annually. The school would be re- Klimkiewiczsponsible for 30 percent of the yearly deposit with the seven towns pickingup the remaining $82,732.Based on enrollment numbers, Chelmsford would pay 23.5 percent of the towns share, or$19,442 year.School officials anticipate accumulating $1 million in the fund by 2019. Spending the money inthat account would require a two-thirds vote from the Nashoba School Committee and not anyvote from the towns.Although the school includes a $100,000-capital line item in its budget, Klimkiewicz said the sta-bilization would be used for bigger ticket items."There are things that need to be done that cannot be covered by the $100,000capital budget," she said. "The objective is not to let the facility go into disrepair." budget, disrepair.Top priorities include roof replacements, estimated at $749,000; a bleacher system, estimated at$415,000; and a 400-meter track, estimated at $750,000."Eventually youre going to have to do some major repairs. I dont want to waitfor the crisis to happen," said Klimkiewicz. "If the roof caves in, I dont want to come happen,to the towns and say, You have to pay for it anyway." anywayIts only be about one year since the law changed to allow Nashoba to move ahead with its sta-bilization fund plans. Prior to that, any expenditure had to be approved by a majority of the sys-tems towns.Some Finance Committee members expressed concern that the school would use the townsmoney without the town having any say in the matter. "In actual practice, Chelmsford wont see that much less control," control, said Nashoba School Committee member Sam Poulten. "Were looking at that amount of money and being able to forecast. I dont think theres going to be a lot of control lost." lost. Sam Poulten
    • Mike RaisbeckForPlanning BoardIn the last In-Town Report I briefly described myself, my qualifications to be on theChelmsford Planning Board, and my reasons for running. This time I’ll cover mythoughts on some of the issues that the Planning Board should tackle:1 – Growth will happen, and often it’s good. We should not put up large artificial barri-ers to it. However, we should not run the Town and its development in a way that makessubstantial growth a requirement for success – for example, by planning based on as-sumed revenue growth from expansion. In one form or another I’ve heard both ex-tremes expressed over the last few years. There is a middle road here.2 – First time development in Chelmsford is over, as is revealed in the Master Plan, andin the future we will concentrate on redevelopment issues. What sort of redevelopmentwould serve us best? I believe we need to emphasize small, entrepreneurial, high skillbusinesses and the associated R&D facilities. We also need to favor the preservation ofopen space. In the next year or two the Zoning Bylaw and other regulations will comeunder review – the Bylaw committee is in place already. These reviews will shape devel-opment in town for some time to come, and their result is what will promote the redevel-opment that we want. I plan to be fully engaged in this process.3 – Efficiency in the management of Town affairs is essential. Improved efficiency willlikely come not from sweeping changes to procedures, but rather from careful adjust-ments to rules, regulations, and practices. Some of this will be experimental. Currentlytown boards are trying out the joint session approach for large projects – we’ve had 2 ofthese sessions already this year. While there are a few kinks to work out, this has prom-ise. Other such initiatives need to be developed and pursued aggressively. And, inconsidering efficiency we should not look only at the dollars. The hours put in by un-paid town officials and volunteers, both elected and appointed, need to be accounted foras valuable assets, as do the hours put in by applicants, abutters, and the public.These are some of the things I think the Planning Board ought to address going forward.I’ll be hosting a campaign open house at 85 High St. on Sunday, March 20, from 2 to 5PM Please come by, say hello, and let me know what’s on your mind.Questions? Call me at home, 978-250-1235, or drop me an email atmike@mraisbeck.com
    • Uncontested candidate Jim Lane stays positive By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Mar 09, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordChelmsford politics haven’t been too friendly lately, but selectman candidate Jim Lane remains optimistic about thetown’s future.Lane is well acquainted with the public process. He has been on the Chelmsford Planning Board for four years and chairman of theMaster Plan Committee for 20 months. On top of that, he is a Town Meeting representative and member of Chelmsford’s CommunityPreservation and Bylaw Review committees.So when Lane says things look bad, he knows what he’s talking about.“I have never seen such division as I see now,” Lane said. “It’s a negative, glass-half-empty tone.”He has caught flak himself for his Planning Board decisions, particularly his approval of a controversial development on 9 NorthRoad. He lost his first race for selectman this past fall to Pat Wojtas, leaving some wondering if 9 North Road might dog him forever.But as Regional Vice-President of EMCOR, an operations and maintenance management company, Lane is used to looking prob-lems in the eye. And as a CHS graduate who lives in town with his wife and 7-year-old twins, he is personally invested in addressingChelmsford’s challenges.Though his position on the Planning Board has occasionally made him a target for unhappy abutters, Lane said it has helped him un-derstand how development causes hard feelings between neighbors. Open space is limited, he said, and construction projects mustoften obtain special permits, which can be open to independent interpretation. Proposals for development can get confusing and con-tentious.But it doesn’t have to be this way, Lane said. The newest and heftiest edition of Chelmsford’s Master Plan stresses redeveloping ex-isting buildings instead of constructing new ones, and Lane said it won’t be shelved and forgotten like previous versions. It’s the firstdocument that contains recommendations complete with timelines and the names of the people responsible for implementing them –and the Implementation Committee must report annually to Town Meeting, Lane pointed out, making them accountable to Chelms-ford’s representatives.Per one Master Plan recommendation, the new Bylaw Review subcommittee of the Planning Board will soon be taking a long, hardlook at Chelmsford’s zoning bylaws. This process could reveal which rules should be reworked to better serve the town and satisfy itsresidents.One change, Lane speculated, might be welcoming restaurants, cafes, dry cleaners and banks to Route 129. Amenity zoning wouldnot only bring business to the town, Lane said, but also keep employees in the area during lunch and errand breaks.Tapping into his real estate background, Lane said businesses should also be invited to open up shop in other vacant commerciallyzoned properties. He suggested seeking out these businesses rather than waiting for them to come to town, and offering personaltours of available sites.Recognizing it’s not always about what comes in but how it gets there, Lane said the permitting process deserves attention too. Hehas worked to streamline this process by allowing a single applicant to present to multiple town boards. So far, Lowell General Hospi-tal and the Chelmsford DPW have proposed projects at tri-board meetings, saving them time as well as design and engineering pres-entation fees. This new method not only caters to the applicant, Lane said, but also facilitates communication between town boards,creating a better understanding of each project and the permits involved.Finally, the streamlined process may be easier for residents to follow and could simplify the prospect of offering feedback. Publicinput mechanisms could be improved even further, Lane said, by putting a suggestion-box link on the town website.“You could submit something that wouldn’t be read by others, with no risk of being criticized,” Lane said. “It would be a way to solicitinput and make people comfortable. Not everyone wants to talk publicly at meetings.”Joining town implementers with the people’s representatives, bringing committees together,inviting citizens into the public process – ultimately, Lane implied, divisiveness can only besolved by unity.The best response to an attack on a town official, according to Lane, is a response made to-gether with fellow public servants. Rather than a selectman or Planning Board member react-ing individually to an angry letter, Lane said, committee members should gather to draft asingle response – a professional answer to even the most personal attack. If this is done,Lane suggested, negativity in Chelmsford politics will always be met not by lone voices ofprotest, but by the full force of the town.“Individual responses are a defensive mode,” Lane said. “The town should respond not be-hind the scenes, but out front. And not just the Board of Selectmen – all boards should draftthe response together. Then it can posted on the town website to show transparency.”He added he has faith in Chelmsford residents’ ability to overcome even the toughest politicalclimate.“Chelmsford has a lot to offer,” Lane said. “It has so many talented, passionate people. I thinkwe can eventually rise above this.”Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Bill Martin makes run for water commissioner Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Wed, Mar 09, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comFor the most part, Bill Martin believes the Chelmsford Water Districtknows what it is doing."I turn on the faucet and water comes out," said Martin. out,"They are doing 95 percent of their job." job.Its the other 5 percent that promoted Martin to run for a ChelmsfordWater District Commissioner seat this spring.Actually, said Martin, it was the way commissioners handled its planto reconstruct a water tank and cellular tower on Locke Road.Last summer, the Chelmsford Water District said it needed to re- Billplace the current water tower for a larger one. That tower houses Martinpublic safety radio antenna as well as a Verizon cellular antenna.Residents of the Locke Road/Westford Street area expressed concerns over the new tower andthe originally proposal for a monopole cellular antenna.By early fall, the Water District agreed to withdraw its plan but said it would not return with anew one unless residents promised not to fight it.For Martin, the process left area residents – including his sister and brother-in-law – stressedand on the defensive."It probably could have been handled in a more sensitive way," said Martin. way,"If there had been more public outreach, the stress and anxiety for the people upthere could have been avoided." avoided.Martin returned nomination papers but was told the signatures would not be certified until March18, which is the last day to turn in papers.To run for Chelmsford Water District Commissioner, candidates must collect 10 signatures ofany registered voters in town.If he makes it on the ballot, Martin will face incumbent Roger Mann for the spot.All registered voters, who live in the Chelmsford Water District, can vote in the election onMonday, April 11, from 3 to 7 p.m. at 20 Watershed Lane.
    • Chelmsford Town Meeting warrant GateHouse News Service Posted Mar 11, 2011 @ 01:00 PM www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordChelmsford-Town Meeting is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 25.ARTICLE 1. To hear reports of the Town Officers and Committees.ARTICLE 2. To see if the Town will amend the Fiscal Year 2011 operating budget voted at the Spring 2010 Annual Town Meeting and amendedat the Fall 2010 Town Meeting.ARTICLE 3. To see if the Town will vote to obtain sums necessary to defray Town charges for the upcoming fiscal year.ARTICLE 4. To see if the Town will approve the Nashoba Valley Technical School District Committee’s vote on December 14, 2010 to establisha Stabilization Fund. The Stabilization Fund will be invested and retain its own interest earnings as provided by law. Further, to set up an opera-tional line item to transfer available monies into the Stabilization Fund.ARTICLE 5. To see if the Town will vote to obtain a sum for the FY12 budget to operate the Sewer Enterprise.ARTICLE 6. To see if the Town will vote to obtain sums to be used as a Reserve Fund at the discretion of the Finance Committee for Fiscal Year2012.ARTICLE 7. To see if the Town will authorize revolving funds for the following departments in Fiscal Year 2012: Town Clerk, Council on Aging,Police Department, Inspection Department.ARTICLE 8. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a sum for capital projects, totaling $2,605,000.ARTICLE 9. To see if the Town will vote to obtain a sum to purchase a replacement “Jaws of Life,” a piece of vehicle rescue equipment, for theFire Department.ARTICLE 10. To see if the Town will vote to obtain a sum to fund the design and construction of a new town center fire station headquarters fa-cility on a portion of the 8.69 acre parcel of Town-owned land located at the corner of Wilson Street and Chelmsford Street, contingent upon pas-sage of a Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion referendum.ARTICLE 11. To see if the Town will vote to obtain a sum to fund the design, redevelopment and reconstruction of a portion of the Department ofPublic Works facility located at 9 Alpha Road to house the Town’s sewer operations. All of the project costs shall be paid through funds accumu-lated in the Sewer Enterprise Fund through an increase to the Sewer User Charges.ARTICLE 12. To see if the Town will vote to transfer a sum from the Sale of Graves and Lots to the Cemetery Improvement and Developmentfund.ARTICLE 13. To see if the Town will vote to obtain a sum to fund employee contract agreements between the Town and its collective bargainingunits.ARTICLE 14. To see if the Town will vote to apply the following provisions with respect to nomination papers:The final date for obtaining blank nomination papers for nomination to city or town office shall be 48 week day hours prior to the hour on whichnomination papers are required to be submitted to the registrars of voters for certification.Each candidate shall file with the city or town clerk, prior to obtaining blank nomination papers, a statement containing his name and address,and the city or town office for which he intends to be a candidate.No candidate for city or town office shall receive more blank nomination papers than will contain the number of signatures required to place hisname in nomination, multiplied by five.ARTICLE 15. To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to petition the General Court for special legislation amending theTown Charter as it relates to the recall of elected officers by clarifying and modifying the timetable for the recall process, increasing the recall pe-tition requirement from 10 to 15 percent, and increasing the period of ineligibility for a person recalled to an appointment to a town office fromone year to two years.ARTICLE 16. To see if the Town will vote to obtain a sum to purchase an electronic tally and display system for voting at Town Meeting; and tosee if the Town will vote to amend the Chelmsford bylaws to allow for electronic voting at Town Meeting.ARTICLE 17. To see if the Town will vote to transfer 15 Town-owned parcels of land totaling about 80 acres to the Conservation Commission forconservation and open space purposes.ARTICLE 18. To see if the Town will vote to transfer the Town-owned parcel of land containing .06 acres and located off of Lexington Street tothe Cemetery Commission.ARTICLE 19. To see if the Town will vote to adopt a new chapter, the Chapter 127 Right to Farm Bylaw. The bylaw will put forth definitions offarming, outline some rights of farmers and affirm general support for agriculture and associated activities.ARTICLE 20. To see if the Town will vote to adopt a snow removal bylaw, which would require residents of listed main roads to clear their side-walks within 24 hours of the end of a snow or ice storm.ARTICLE 21. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate from FY2012 Community Preservation Fund revenues a sum for Community Preserva-tion Committee expenses for FY2012 and to reserve amounts from the FY2012 Community Preservation Fund revenues for future appropriation.ARTICLE 22. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a sum from the Community Preservation Fund Historic Preservation Reserve and/orGeneral Reserve to the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church to fund the repair and restoration of the Town Clock and the church steeple inwhich the clock is located.ARTICLE 23. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a sum from the Community Preservation Fund Historic Preservation Reserve and/ Gen-eral Reserve to the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church to fund the repair and restoration of the church steeple, parapets, clock tower, andadjacent roof area.ARTICLE 24. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a sum from the Community Preservation Fund Open Space and Recreation Reserveand/or General Reserve to fund the treatment and preservation of Heart Pond from invasive plant species.ARTICLE 25. To see if the Town will vote to accept Clara Way as laid out by the Board of Selectmen and shown by reports filed in the office ofthe Town Clerk.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • If any candidate running in this election whether youare opposed or not wishes to submit a statement tothe voters for the next In-Town Report which willcome out a few days before the April 5th election.Please send it to intownreport@gmail.comby March 31st.No matter what you are running forTown Meeting RepresentativeLibrary TrusteeBoard Of HealthTown ModeratorPlanning BoardSchool CommitteeSelectmenWhateverWhy should we vote vote for you onthe ballott and not just leave it blankor write in someone else’s name ??? Shameless Political Plug
    • EXTRA Extras
    • Cholesterol Screenings *Chelmsford Residents Only* Chelmsford Board of Health Office, LL02 Town Offices, 50 Billerica Road, Chelmsford 978-250-5241 Tuesday: March 22, 2011 Time: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ($15.00 Fee) A 12-hour fast is required DEADLINE TO REGISTER: Tuesday, March 14, 2011 Testing is limited; please call early for an appointment. You will receive results on your Total Cholesterol, HDL, and Cardiac Risk Profile Call 978-250-5241 to register for an appointment or for any questions you may have. Chelmsford Town Offices Peter Dulchinos, Chairman Annmarie Roark, Vice Chairman Board of Health Earnest Wu, MD, Clerk 50 Billerica Road Richard J. Day, Health DirectorChelmsford, MA 01824-2777 Sue Rosa, RN, Healthcare Services Manager (978) 250-5241 Mark Masiello, Health Inspectorwww.townofchelmsford.us Carole McCaul, Dept Assistant Kathy Duffett and Tom Christiano would like to invite you to the next"Support Our Town Coffee" Coffee at the Java Room, Room Littleton Road, in the Ginger Ale Plaza, on Plaza on Thursday, March 17th , from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM . Please stop by and join us for just a few minutes --or for the full two hours -- to talk about whats happening in town and to catch up on the latest news. Since this will be the final "coffee" before the April 5th town elections, you are welcome to wear your campaign buttons to show your support of the candidates. These Support Our Town Coffees are organized primarily to support for our local small businesses and to informally talk with some of our political leaders and representatives. Should you have any questions, please email Tom at: tchristiano@comcast.net
    • LWVC Candidates Night, March 21, 2011The League of Women Voters of Chelmsford invites you to participate in Candidates’ Night onMonday, March 21, in the meeting room of the Chelmsford Police Station. There will be a re-ception for all candidates and the public at 7:00 P.M. to allow voters to speak directly with thecandidates. The formal portion of the program will run from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M. and will bebroadcast by Chelmsford Telemedia.The debate will be moderated by Ellen Harde of the Westford League of Women Voters.The Town Election will be held on April 5, 2011. Offices and positions on the ballot this yearinclude: Cemetery Commission; Board of Health; Housing Authority; Moderator; LibraryTrustee; Planning Board; School Committee; Selectman; and Sewer Commission.Only one contested office appears on this year’s ballot, i.e., the three candidates for two openseats on the Planning Board. However, all seventeen candidates on the ballot, includingthese three candidates, have been invited to make a three minute presentation of informationconcerning her/his candidacy.Each candidate has been requested to present her/his reasons for running and a brief de-scription of one or more topics or issues they feel face the committee or position, how theywould move toward coming to decisions on these matters, and, time permitting, answer addi-tional questions arising from the presentation.The agenda is also planned to include a presentation, and question and answer period, con-cerning Ballot Question 1, the design and construction of a new Center Fire Station.Please plan to attend, or to view the broadcast (or rebroadcast) by Chelmsford Telemedia.And be sure to VOTE on April 5, 2011. Polls will be open from 7AM to 8PM. THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS® OF CHELMSFORD SERVING CHELMSFORD SINCE 1957
    • QUOTE OF THE WEEK: A mans got to know his limitations.- Clint Eastwood (Harry Callahan) Magnum Force (1973)A  LONG TIME AGO  A  IN  GALAXYFAR, FARSIDE  AWAY
    • In-Town Report News Links: LOWELL SUN CHELMSFORD INDEPENDENT CHELMSFORDMASSNEWS.COM CHELMSFORD PATCH ITR on FACEBOOK link If you have any comments on the In-Town Report drop me a line atintownreport@gm ail.com Shameless Political Plug ROY EARLEY Town Meeting Representative Precinct 6 In-Town Report Westlands Watchdogs Open Space Steward