Art Campbell

Art started The Groton Line late in 2009 as a synthesis of two careers in newspaper journalism and technical communications -- writing about networks, computers, and software. He's only lived in Groton 20+ years, so he qualifies as "one of the new guys" with a fresh perspective.

Apr 232015
 

Starting the 2014 Groton Road RaceJim Rhodes

Starting the 2014 Groton Road Race

The 24th annual Groton Road Race happens this Sunday, April 26 beginning and ending at the Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School on Main Street. Groton has become an annual destination for more than 2,000 runners with certified 5K and 10K courses on beautiful country roads as well as races for children and less competitive runners. The Groton Road Race is produced by the Squannacook River Runners.

The race schedule is:

  • 10:45 a.m. — Tots’ Trot
  • 11:15 a.m. — 2K
  • 11:50 a.m. — 10K
  • 12 p.m. — 5K

=”_blank”>For complete information, including registration information, visit the race website.

Road Closures and Detours

Traffic will be delayed or diverted starting at 11:40 a.m. according to a news release from the Groton Police Department. The department anticipates that traffic on Main Street will be detoured while the road is closed, about 40 minutes. Hollis Street, Champney Street, and Martins Pond Road will be closed for the duration of the race.

Route 119/Main Street — closed — no traffic — Main Street- Middle School to Route 40/Broadmeadow Road from 11:40 a.m. to approximately 12:20 p.m.

Large Trucks/Trucks with trailers will be held on Route 119/Main Street (eastbound) starting at the Middle School to Mill Street and (westbound) at Route 40/Lowell Road on Main Street to Boston Road.

Detours

Eastbound Route 119/Main Street: Right on Mill Street, bear right onto Farmers Row, left onto Higley Street, left onto Peabody Street, left onto Old Ayer Road, bear right at common onto Route 119/Boston Road.

Westbound Route 119/Main Street: Left on Old Ayer Road, right on Peabody Street, right on Higley Street, right on Farmers Row, left on Mill Street, left back on Route 119/Main Street.

Southbound on Chicopee Row: right on Reedy Meadow Road, left on Nashua Road, right on Longley Road, immediate left on Sand Hill Road straight on Nod Road, left on Route 119/Main Street.

Southbound on Longley Road: right on Sand Hill Road straight on Nod Road, left on Route 119/Main Street.



Apr 232015
 

The proposal to spur economic development around the Four Corners intersection of Routes 119 and 225 by extending a sewer line from Ayer down Sandy Pond road to junction still lacks support from existing businesses in Groton, has mixed support on the Groton Board of Selectmen, and hasn’t come up for discussion in Ayer Town Hall yet.

But it does have an informational video.

In an effort by Selectman Anna Eliot to provide information on four related Spring Town Meeting articles that would enable the sewer extension, the town’s cable access channel has released “Four Corners Sewer Project — Groton 2015 Spring Town Meeting Articles 12 — 15″ on its web service and is cablecasting it daily at 11 a.m. on Charter channel 192 and Verizon channel 41.

“I want to thank Bob Colman and Rene Moe for taking on this project under less than ideal circumstances. This video is vastly different from what Dave Melpignano was gong to produce. With the time constraints it was decided to make a very short informational. I hope this video helps people understand a little more of what the town meeting articles are about,” Eliot wrote in an email.

The video project ran into problems in February when local video producer and Chair of the town’s Cable Access Committee, David Melpignano, was hired by Eliot and Town Manager Mark Haddad to produce a $6500 documentary on the project. The Board of Selectmen approved a $3000 payment to Melpignano in March for work completed on the video, but the Cable Access Committee refused to provide the remainder of the funds, instead suggesting that Cable Access staff complete the project. Melpignano turned over the video footage he had completed, Groton Channel Program Director Bob Colman said, but none was used in the current video because the intent of his video was much less complex than Melpignano’s.

The four articles to be discussed at Spring Town Meeting, set for Monday April 27 and May 4, and possibly May 11, are:

  • Article 12 would establish the Four Corners Sewer District.
  • Article 13 would allocate approximately $3M for design and construction of the sewer extension.
  • Article 14 would allow the town to negotiate an agreement with Ayer to accept the waste water from the system
  • Article 15 establishes a Four Corners Business District as a state Economic Opportunity Area which would allow some development projects to qualify for state tax breaks.

At the Tuesday April 21 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Haddad reiterated that because of the lukewarm support from existing businesses, the project would go forward if the town secured a Mass Works grant to fully fund the construction. In order to apply for the grant, the town has to have “shovel ready” engineering plans in hand, and those would cost about $285,000, he said. The plans would be paid for by assessing betterments to property owners in the proposed sewer district, but if a 100% grant is awarded to the town, the engineering costs could rolled into that pool of funds.

Groton Board of Selectmen discuss Town Meeting Articles Related to the Four Corners Sewer proposal at its April 21, 2015 meeting

“This is a gamble that I’m not willing to take at this point,” Chair of the Board of Selectmen Josh Degen said. He floated the idea of indefinitely postponing Articles 12, 13, and 14 until the proposal had more support from existing businesses and some unanswered questions had answers.

After more discussion, Selectmen Peter Cunningham and Anna Eliot voted to support all four articles. Selectman Jack Petropoulos voted not to support them. Degen deferred his endorsement to Town Meeting. Selectman Stuart Schulman could not attend the meeting and did not vote.

In Ayer, “The administration here had an initial conversation with Groton about this proposed concept a couple years ago as well as more recently,” Ayer Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand said. “The Board of Selectmen in Ayer are aware of the concept as well. I think it is a potential opportunity for the two towns to do something on a regional level that would benefit a sewer and wastewater need in Groton, and would benefit Ayer in terms of flows to our wastewater treatment plant.

“Where it stands now is that the town is open and willing to discuss the details of this proposed project. The next steps would be, assuming those articles are passed by Groton Town Meeting and the Town of Groton is looking to move in that direction, then we would commence with more detailed negotiations — the negotiations would be done by the Ayer DPW superintendent and myself, subject to review and approval by the (Ayer) Board of Selectmen. and, depending on the nature of the agreement, it may require approval by the Ayer Town Meeting. But that is just a premature, sort of general timeline,” Pontbriand said.


Apr 212015
 

Taking the advice of a nonbinding town meeting referendum may be easier if you ask for the advice in the first place, according to Groton Selectmen and candidates for selectman in the upcoming town election.

Not quite a year ago, in June, 2014, selectmen sponsored a special town meeting with a single article on the warrant: a nonbinding referendum opposing the Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project, which passed through Groton. At the time, all selectmen endorsed the referendum and pointed to town meeting’s voice as one of the roots of New England’s tradition of democracy. The referendum passed by a loud voice vote margin.

I think the whole thing is wrongheaded and spiteful and divisive to the Town as a whole. — Art Prest


At this year’s Spring Town Meeting, on April 26, another nonbinding referendum will give Groton residents a chance to voice their approval or displeasure with Town Manager Mark Haddad by asking selectmen not to renew his contract for a third three-year term next year. This one came from a citizen’s petition filed by Rob Flynn, an employee benefits broker who is also a Groton Park Commissioner. Seventeen voters signed the petition, more than the ten required to get the article before town meeting. One voter removed his name after finding out that Flynn planned to ask that the vote on the article be conducted by secret ballot, a measure Flynn explained was necessary to protect residents, town employees, contractors with the town, and office holders from any possible threat of retribution.
Town Moderator Jason Kauppi explained that the nonbinding referendum is exactly that, because of the division of powers between residents at Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen.

“The Board of Selectmen, as the executive branch of town government, has the authority to hire and fire a town manager. The Town Meeting, as the legislative branch, has no managerial authority over town personnel and cannot compel action by the selectmen.

“For example, Town Meeting may authorize the selectmen to spend or borrow money, or to sell property. However, it cannot require them to do so,” he said.

What is your feeling, generally, about nonbinding referendums at Town Meeting directing the Board to do something or act in a specific way?


The Groton Line queried all five sitting selectmen and the two candidates running for Selectman Jack Petropoulos’s seat, George Barringer and Art Prest about their feelings both about citizen’s referendums and Article 4 in particular. In an email, we asked one question about referendums, two about Article 4, and an open-ended follow up question that offered an opportunity for the selectmen and candidates to expound on their positions.

We asked:

  1. What is your feeling, generally, about nonbinding referendums at Town Meeting directing the Board to do something or act in a specific way?
  2. Article 4, a citizen’s petition asking you not to renew the Town Manager’s contract, is a nonbinding referendum. Should it pass, would you accept it as a mandate, take it into consideration when discussing renewal, or ignore it? If you elected the middle path, how much weight would you give it?
  3. Please explain the “Why” behind your answer to Question 2.
  4. Any other thoughts on this?

We gave all seven people three days to reply. Selectmen Peter Cunningham and Anna Eliot did not reply. Neither did candidates Barringer or Prest — in fact Prest merged the general question about nonbinding referendum’s place in town government with the questions about Article 4, apparently declaring both citizen’s referendums and Article 4 “divisive to the Town.” Barringer said he would make his opinion known at Town Meeting. BoS Chair Josh Degen gave answers that indicated a high level of attention to what voter’s opinions at TM. Petropoulos and Selectman Stuart Schulman were more reserved, each saying that he would take the vote into consideration.

All five selectmen currently are the targets of affidavits calling for each one to be recalled.

Here are the answers:

Selectmen's (and Selectmen Candidate's) Opinion On Town Meeting Guidance

 What is your feeling, generally, about nonbinding referendums at Town Meeting directing the Board to do something or act in a specific way?Article 4, a citizen's petition asking you not to renew the Town Manager's contract, is a nonbinding referendum. Should it pass, would you accept it as a mandate, take it into consideration when discussing renewal, or ignore it? If you elected the middle path, how much weight would you give it?Pleas explain the "Why" behind your answer to Question 2.Any other thoughts on this?
Peter CunninghamDid not reply to email.
Josh DegenThese votes should be strongly considered when each selectman takes a position on the substance of the article.I would abide by the will of the vote insomuchas it may relate to a future board vote.Town Meeting speaks to the tone and will of the voters. I do reserve my right to go against the vote should it fail.A LOT OF THOUGHTS. I AM STILL THINKING.
Anna EliotAs I said at our meeting, I am not going to comment at this time. Thank you for asking.
Stuart SchulmanThe gas pipeline vote was a nonbinding referendum at TM that gave direction to the Board, and I was absolutely OK with it. However this time it’s about a Town employee and his career, reputation, etc. That’s a horse of another color. The idea of TM opining on the status of a Town employee is mind-bogglingly bad, and could have serious negative consequences for the Town, regardless of the outcome. Will the “case” in favor of the article  be sprung on all of us at TM?  How will “evidence” be presented?  Will there be cross examination?  Lawyers? I don’t know the answers.  I am extremely wary about the process.  I know that the Moderator and Town Clerk will do the best job possible, but I do not envy them.I will take the results into consideration. I will not accept a mandate either way. I was elected to exercise my judgment in the best interests of the Town and I will do so.Besides the vote tally, the quality of the debate and the fairness of the process will be factors to be considered.Process issues aside, I strongly oppose Article 4.  I am writing up something that expresses my thoughts on this in detail.  It’s not done yet. You’ll get it when it is!
Jack PetropoulosI think that Town Meeting is a great but challenging forum for discussing important issues.

It is where a well-informed public should come to discuss the most difficult of issues.  The pressure to be considerate, concise and fair makes this forum much more productive than online or coffee shop discussion.  On the other hand, assuring a productive dialogue is certainly a challenge for both the moderator and for Town Meeting itself. This particular question is unusual in that it has to do with a person's livelihood and, as such, I am not sure what I think of its appropriateness. I certainly see many sides of that particular argument.
I will take Town Meeting's voice as a consideration, weighted in large part by the ratio of the vote.The reason for taking it into consideration rather than as a mandate is:
  1. This is a nonbinding vote.

  2. I believe that as a Selectman I am elected to act against my assessment of the Town's best interest.  It is possible that I may see something compelling in the Town Manager's performance relative to our Town's best interest that is not reflected in the vote of Town Meeting.  The vote of Town Meeting on this Article will contribute to that assessment.

  3. If Town Meeting was the sole source of determining whether to renew the Town Manager's contract, then the Town Manger would be an elected position rather than an appointed position.
While I respect the right of the citizens to bring this forward, and understand the concerns that have caused the question to be put on the Warrant, I would ask us all to have a respectful debate on this matter.  We should keep in mind the fact that we will be talking about a member of our community; one who has worked very hard for this town. Vote as you like, but in our debate please be respectful of the Town Manager, of the citizens that brought this issue forward and of the expression of opinion on the floor of Town Meeting.  Let's be proud of the way that we addressed this Article and of the way that we treated each other regardless of the positions that are taken.  Let's be able to look back and say that we took this opportunity to send ourselves a productive message.  If we do that then we can claim to have made the most of this difficult responsibility.

Candidates for Selectman

George BarringerThis is an important question to which I will be speaking to at the meeting.  Therefore, I will defer until then.
Art PrestI choose not to answer your questions because I think the whole thing is wrongheaded and spiteful and divisive to the Town as a whole.


Apr 212015
 

According to a news release from the Massachusetts State Police, a “Sobriety Checkpoint” will be run by the department on a public way somewhere in Middlesex County and will operate from Saturday April 25 into Sunday April 26, 2015.

The press release states: “The purpose is to further educate the motoring public and strengthen the public’s awareness to the need of detecting and removing those motorists who operate under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs from our roadways. It will be operated during varied hours, the selection of vehicles will not be arbitrary, safety will be assured, and any inconveniences to motorists will be minimized with advance notice to reduce fear and anxiety.”


Apr 202015
 

A dry and sunny Sunday, perfect for spring yard clean up, was also just a bit too breezy for brush fires. Groton firefighters responded to alarms on Ames, Gratuity, and Schoolhouse Roads, all around noon on April 19. Groton Fire Chief Steele McCurdy reported that the three fires combined consumed more than an acre and a half, but didn’t cause any property damage or injuries.




Apr 192015
 

Groton Police Officer Dale Rose assists a young, snappy, Lost Lake Drive resident across the street.Jack Petropoulos

Groton Police Officer Dale Rose assists a young, snappy, Lost Lake Drive resident across the street.

Temperatures hit 73° in Groton on Saturday, and both resident humans and reptiles were outside enjoying the sun. Saturday morning, Groton Police Officer Dale Rose assisted a young resident, believed to be a snapping turtle, across Lost Lake Drive. The turtle was not cited for jaywalking because it was ambling across the road near a posted “Turtle Crossing” sign.

Motorists should expect turtles to be on the move now, as they emerge from winter hibernation and move into egg laying season. Conservationists recommend using the small snow shovel that’s still in many resident’s car trunks to move larger turtles from the roadway.


Apr 172015
 

G-D track and field team members (L-R) Sarah Rice, Brianna Considine, and Julianna Elmasri at work in the Athletic Booster's phone roomAngus MacDonald

G-D track and field team members (L-R) Sarah Rice, Brianna Considine, and Julianna Elmasri at work in the Athletic Booster’s phone room

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School student athletes and coaches dialed most of the phones in both towns during the Athletic Booster’s annual phonathon. The spring event raised “… a little over $21,000 in pledges. The Phonathon is our primary source of fundraising,” explained Phonathon Chair Nancy Ohringer.

“Student-athletes and their coaches are given a specific night for their team. The school atmosphere provides a relaxed environment for the teams to make their calls and secure pledges from the community. As is true each year, there are a few students who initially feel a bit nervous in soliciting donations over the phone. Once they get a couple of calls under their belts, they become more at ease and enjoy talking with local residents, and their self-confidence soars. As a result, they become very successful in their fundraising efforts,” she said.

This year’s pledges are down slightly from last year’s when the club raised $23,000, according to Booster club treasurer Lynette Fisher. She wrote in an email that, “In 2014, the Booster club awarded $8,000.00 in scholarships to college bound seniors who demonstrated extraordinary citizenship and leadership. The GDABC also provided $6,500.00 to purchase new high jump pits, $5,100.00 to purchase new soccer goals and nets, $2,300.00 for Lacrosse goals and nets, funding for indoor training facilities for spring sports, field hockey goalie equipment, and funded many other requests from coaches.”

Looking back over the history of the club, Ohringer wrote, “Before this year’s Phonathon, the Athletic Boosters have raised more than $290,000. Money raised provides scholarships to graduating student-athletes as well as financial support to help supplement the athletic budgets for both the Middle School and the High School.

The Booster Club is hopeful that all those who generously made a pledge during our Phonathon last month will be able to fulfill their outstanding pledges by June 30th.

“With the continued impact of a very slow economy affecting families within our two communities, we understand that it may be difficult or even impossible for some residents to contribute this year,” Ohringer said. “We welcome any and all gifts that are received. With the envisioned deficit in the school district’s projected budget, and it’s impact on the athletic budget in particular, your gift, large or small, will be appreciated more than ever.”

More detailed information about the Athletic Boosters members, mission, and specific funding is on its website www.gdathleticboosters.org. For those members of the community who were not reached during the Phonathon and would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, they may do so by mailing their checks to the GDABC, P.O. Box 1190, Groton, MA 01450.

The Booster Club meets the first Wednesday of each month at the High School at 6:30 p.m. All Groton and Dunstable residents and parents are welcome.


Apr 162015
 

The first review of Groton’s Town Charter kicked off this Monday, when the Board of Selectmen formally called for the charter review to begin and began discussing who would fill its three seats on the ad hoc committee.

The plan to conduct a review of the 2008 charter surfaced last November. The charter requires that a review be conducted by a seven-person committee at least once each decade. The Board of Selectmen designate three Charter Review Committee members. The Finance Committee selects two people; the Groton members of the regional school committee select one member, and the town moderator chooses one person. In each case, members of the boards or the moderator may serve, or they may delegate the responsibility to a resident.

Town Manager Mark Haddad told the selectmen that the Finance Committee designees are Scott Harker and Bud Robertson, and that Town Moderator Jason Kauppi has picked Michael Manugian.

Since the BoS asked for citizen volunteers in early November, 2014, five people have expressed an interest in representing the selectmen: Town Clerk Michael Bouchard, attorney Bob Collins, Editor of The Groton Herald Russ Harris, Groton Electric Light Department Commissioner Kevin Lindemer, and banker Mike Rasmussan. Harris withdrew from the running today, Thursday, April 16.

“I would like to see us interview those five individuals as soon as possible so they can hit the ground running as soon as Town Meeting is over,” BoS Chair Josh Degen said. Selectmen agreed that the board will interview the five men in a meeting in before Town Meeting on Monday, April 27, in the North Middle School cafeteria at 5:30 p.m.

At a BoS meeting on November 4, 2014, Selectman Peter Cunningham, who helped draft the charter, and Selectman Jack Petropoulos both expressed interest in serving on the review committee. During this week’s meeting they both reiterated their interest, and were joined by Selectman Stuart Schulman. Selectman Anna Eliot also expressed an interested, but had not decided whether to throw her hat into the pool of candidates.

Petropoulos threw a curve ball into the meeting when he said that, “I’ve had a lot of feedback from people on what the best makeup of this committee is, or could be. And there’s just a lot of concern about conflicts of interest (about whether and how many selectmen should serve).”

“The other concern I’ve heard is with regards to town employees serving on the committee, where town employees serving on the committee have a conflict in terms of their reporting structure and how they may influence the committee relative to that reporting structure. I want to make sure there are no implications in regards to any town employee who has applied here, and the only town employee that I know has applied is just a wonderful person and who has no stink on them at all, Mike Bouchard,” he said.

When other selectmen and Haddad interrupted to “correct” Petropoulos, saying that Bouchard was an elected official, Petropoulos agreed with that fact of the matter but stuck to his guns, stressing that the “Town of Groton Organization Chart” that is maintained by Haddad and posted on the town website in 2011 (below) presents a different scenario, a scenario believed by some residents.

Town of Groton Organization Chart

Town of Groton Organization Chart

“He is elected, but I believe he reports in to the town manager on the org chart, and that is the perception that I’m hearing,” Petropoulos said. Interrupted again by selectmen and Haddad, who said that wasn’t true, Petropoulos said: “That’s the perception that I’m hearing… that’s the feedback that I’m hearing and it’s not a small amount of feedback.”

Schulman responded to the meeting with a clarification, rather than interrupting Petropoulos, and said, “The Town Clerk does get paid, so I guess that makes him an employee, but he certainly is not part of the reporting structure in any way, shape, or form. And that should be pretty clear.”

After the meeting, Petropoulos pointed out that Haddad exerts some financial control over all employees in the clerk’s office through the town budget and recommendations on salaries.


UPDATE: A new town organization chart dated April 16,2015, the date this story was posted, has been added to the town web site. That chart removes the Town Clerk from “reporting” to the Town Manager, but still has the Town Moderator, Park Commission, and a host of other elected officials under that office, when in fact they are independent.


The board decided to wait until after it interviewed the citizen volunteers before picking the mix of selectmen and residents it would put on the committee.

Ready to Do Your Own Review of the Town Charter?

You can read the Town of Groton Charter online or download it as a PDF



Apr 102015
 


The new Town Hall “Visitor’s Code of Conduct” that was posted on the building’s entrances last week surprised many visitors and the Board of Selectmen, but was actually months in the making, according to Human Resources Director Melisa Doig. She said she proposed developing and posting the rules when a webinar on visitor’s policies was presented by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA) in November 2014. She received approval from Town Manager Mark Haddad to develop a policy, Doig said, and implemented that “go ahead” by adopting the policy and training materials in use in Acton, she said.

Acton’s program was featured in the monthly newsletter of the MIIA this month. Executive Assistant to the Town Manager Dawn Dunbar distributed a reprint of Tips for dealing with difficult residents.

In the article, AllOne Health, MIIA’s Employee Assistance Program, official Will Brown said: “Creating awareness in the workplace and providing employees with tools to help them handle difficult customers ‘can go a long way toward preventing issues down the road, including employee stress and depression.”

‘Municipalities can provide customized training that addresses the unique issues related to working with tough customers.’ according to Will Brown of AllOne Health, MIIA’s Employee Assistance Program.'”

Brown said in a phone call that the MIIA offers on-site training for employees; because simply posting a policy doesn’t give them all the tools available to deal with potentially threatening situations.

Doig said that follow-on training to the policy is in the works, but has not yet been scheduled. Acton supplied her with some materials showing role playing during training sessions, she said, and that may be used. She also said that the Code of Conduct should be followed by town employees.

At the Monday, April 5 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Haddad told the Board of Selectmen that “A lot has been made of the Visitor’s Code of conduct … Nobody asked why we did it, so I would like to discuss why we did it.”

That set the stage for a reading of an email from Land Use Director Michelle Collette to selectmen outlining Doig’s work behind the scenes.

Read Michelle Collette's email to selectmen

I would like the Board of Selectmen to understand that the adoption of the Visitors’ Code of Conduct has been a topic of discussion in Town Hall for some time. When Melisa sent out the information on the MIIA Webinar on Acton’s Visitor Code of Conduct in November 2014, I thanked her for facilitating the discussion because I had heard about Acton’s policy at an American Planning Association conference I attended in October 2013. I strongly encouraged all Land Use Department staff to attend, which they did.

The Selectmen must realize that we deal with a variety of controversial issues at the Land Use Department counter on a regular basis. At times, people can become angry and abusive to Town employees and other members of the public. We have dealt with felons and individuals with restraining orders. There may be families with children present who witness heated exchanges. We try to handle all such situations calmly and professionally. We certainly do not hesitate to contact the Police Department if and when it is necessary. Similarly, we have requested a police presence at many public hearings if we know in advance that matters may warrant it. The presence of a Police Officer at public hearings has always helped tremendously.

The Visitors’ Code of Conduct simply sets ground rules that we can all rely on if matters begin to escalate. We appreciate the efforts of HR Director Melisa Doig in facilitating the webinar and gathering the information. We thank Town Manager Mark Haddad for adopting the policy to protect Town employees and the public.

Respectfully,

Michelle Collette
Land Use Director on behalf of the Land Use Department staff


“Melissa brought it to me for acceptance on March 27th,” Haddad said to the board. “So please understand it had nothing to do with anything between Joshua, you and I in the past or you and I, Mr. Petropulos, or any members of the board of selectmen. And for someone to jump to that conclusion whether or not its from a source or whatever, without knowing all the information I think is unfortunate and I think sends the wrong message to the public and I think it makes a mockery of what we’re trying to do to protect town employees.”

Principal Assessor Rena Swezey, who, like Collette, reports to Haddad, weighed in with a memo to the selectmen and Haddad outlining her staff’s interactions over the previous two weeks with three irate taxpayers, writing “Mr. Campbell has no idea of the daily operations of the town hall nor do the Selectmen.” See or download Swezey’s original memo.

Haddad admitted to selectmen that his method of implementing the policy might have been faulty. “I will say, in hindsight, I did’t think it was going to cause the uproar that it caused. In hindsight, I should have brought it to the selectmen; should have discussed it in a meeting. Hindsight is always 20-20. We were trying to do a good thing for the employees and that was what it was all about,” Haddad said.

He went on to chastise local media outlets for news coverage of how the policy was implemented. Haddad told selectmen that he received a voice-mail message from The Groton Line requesting a comment, that had been left the evening of Tuesday, March 31, ” … but I had never been given the opportunity to comment on it.”

Haddad didn’t mention that six days had gone by since the request for comment had been left with his office and the meeting in which he was speaking, and that he still hadn’t returned the phone call.

In a follow up email sent the next morning, Tuesday, April 7, The Groton Line reminded Haddad’s Executive Assistant, Dawn Dunbar, that he had not yet returned the phone call from the previous week. She replied: “As far as your request for comment last week from Mr. Haddad, he made all his comments on the subject at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting last night.”

Haddad has not returned calls or emails from The Groton Line for several years, since this news site reported on and used a forensic computer expert to investigate emails related to Haddad’s sexting scandal in 2011 and 2012.

The Groton Herald‘s editor, Russ Harris, reports that Haddad is not replying to emails or phone calls from him about town business, although the paper’s senior reporter, Connie Sartini allowed that Haddad’s infrequent communications to her emailed questions are “terse,” but do occur.


Apr 102015
 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will begin resurfacing work on Route 119 through Groton Sunday night, April 12, Groton Department of Public Works Director Tom Delaney announced today. Two crews will be at work for at least several weeks, possibly through June, he said. One crew will work from Littleton toward Groton center; the second will begin work near Elm Street in Groton and head to Townsend.

At least the first phase, grinding down the current roadbed, will take place overnight. Work will begin Sunday at 8 p.m. and continue until 5 a.m. Monday and continue on that schedule until work is completed.

Delaney said the state may add sidewalks to the roads, too, space along the roadway and money permitting. If sidewalks are constructed, the two target areas are from town center toward the post office and CVS store south of Groton Center, and from the Florence Roche / Middle School campus toward Mill Run Plaza.

Unlike last summer, when the state announced its intention to resurface the road but didn’t begin work, Delaney said the equipment is already in place to begin work.