NORTH SMITHFIELD – Town Administrator Gary Ezovski has officially replaced all resigning members of the North Smithfield Conservation Commission, with his final two appointments unanimously approved by the Town Council last week.
Ezovski’s decision to seek applicants for the volunteer roles, causing delay in the reappointment of several long-standing members, led all six commissioners who were previously serving to sign a letter of resignation in December.
The board maintains several parcels of town-owned land through volunteer labor, and works to protect natural resources in North Smithfield. Commission opinions are typically sought for planning and zoning proposals with the potential for significant environmental impact.
While Paul Soares, the former long-standing chairman of the conservation-minded board, has said he was not reappointed due to conflicts with the current administrator, Ezovski has said he merely wanted to ensure that anyone with an interest had the opportunity to serve.
In a letter to NRI NOW, Rhode Island Association of Conservation Commissions President Paul Roselli called on Ezovski to apologize and reappoint the group of volunteers.
But at the Town Council meeting following the resignations, Ezovski named five people to fill seven vacancies on the board.
And last week, a complete turnover of the commission was finalized.
Ezovski named Steven Berenback of School Street for a three year term on the commission set to expire December 1 of this year. Berenback, a New York native, currently works in registration at the University of Rhode Island.
For the last remaining spot, a term ending in December of 2022, the administrator appointed Joseph Kerrigan, also of School Street, a North Smithfield native and graduate of North Smithfield High School who works as a technician at Majestic Motors.
The appointments were approved with no discussion by councilors.
The new board is slated to meet for the first time on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
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