Council Notebook: New Council Clerk, Resident Petition & Committee Assignments

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The Town Council approved a hiring a new Council Clerk, but they also decided to change the way the person is hired next time around. 

Town Council President Mark Sideris announced his pick for the position of Council Clerk – Marilyn Pronovost. She comes to the job with experience working in local government as well as working for a technology company. She has a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State and a law degree from Suffolk University.

Some councilors wondered if she was, essentially, overqualified for the position. Pronovost was asked about that by town Personnel Director Gayle Shattuck and Town Auditor Tom Tracy when they interviewed her, Sideris said, and they were satisfied with her answer.

Councilors voted 9-0 to appoint Pronovost.

Under the town’s charter, the Town Council President has the sole authority to pick the new council clerk. Sideris said he wants to change that during the next Town Charter Review, which will take place in 2020.

Councilor Aaron Dushku said he has other issues with the Charter he would like to bring up. Sideris said he has been keeping a list and said councilors can send them their requests to add to the list.

Residential Design Standards Petition

Members of the Concerned Watertown Homeowners Association presented a petition opposing the effort that may put in new standards for residential areas.

The Residential Design Guidelines have been proposed by a group looking to “protect the character of Watertown’s neighborhoods.” They are particularly concerned with smaller homes being torn down and replaced with ones much larger than others in the area, or by two-unit developments.

Steve Messina, a spokesman for Concerned Watertown Homeowners, said the group does not want any new regulations that restrict what homeowners can do on their property.

“We have over 340 signatures form people opposed to mandatory design standards for residential properties,” Messina said. “We want to let people know about the regulations could effect all homeowners.”

The group, which includes local developers, real estate agents and concerned residents, recently had a kick off event, and are looking to get word out the residents about the potential changes.

Committee Assignments

The new council held its first meeting, and that means new committee assignments and also the election of a Council Vice President.

District C Councilor Vincent Piccirilli was unanimously voted the new Town Council Vice President. The former vice president, Steve Corbett, stepped down from the council last month after his fifth term on the Council.

Council President Mark Siders also announced the council subcommittees. He also created two ad hoc subcommittee – transportation and technology.

They are listed below with the first person serving as chair, second vice chair and third secretary:

  • Budget and Fiscal Oversight – Vincent Piccirilli, Angeline Kounelis, Kenneth Woodland
  • Rules and Ordinances – Woodland, Lisa Feltner, Aaron Dushku
  • Economic Development and Planning – Susan Falkoff, Woodland, Piccirilli
  • Education – Michael Dattoli, Dushku, Feltner
  • Human Services – Tony Palomba, Dushku, Dattoli
  • Personnel and Town Organization – Falkoff, Dattoli, Kounelis
  • Public Safety – Feltner, Piccirlli, Palomba
  • Public Works – Dushku, Palomba, Falkoff
  • State, Federal and Regional Government – Kounelis, Woodland, Falkoff
  • Transportation – Dushku, Piccirilli, Palomba
  • Technology – Woodland, Falkoff, Feltner

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