NORTH SMITHFIELD – A new town board officially launched on Tuesday, Feb. 16, with the Town Council naming members to the Public Art Advisory Committee.
Changes were made to the laws governing two existing boards, meanwhile, to allow applicants to serve who otherwise may not have made the cut.
But for one board that’s been the focus of many discussion over the past several months – the Halliwell Review Committee – those who wish to serve are being asked to reapply.
Town Council President John Beauregard pointed to the change from former Town Clerk Lillian Silva Scott, to new interim Town Clerk Joanne Buttie, in explaining the problem.
“During the transition between one clerk to the other, the list of residents requesting to be put on the Halliwell Committee got lost somewhere,” Beauregard said. “I don’t want to forget anybody.”
Once it is launched, the new board is expected to guide the future of the 32-acre property that once held Halliwell Elementary School. Those interested in serving should fill out the application found here, and submit it to the clerk’s office, even if they have already done so.
“I apologize for the inconvenience,” Beauregard said Tuesday. “No one wants to get this going more than we do.”
The initiative to create an arts committee was first put forth by Beauregard in January with the intent that the group can find pieces from local artists and schools to decorate Town Hall, among other projects. On Tuesday, members named to two year terms included Christian de Rezendes, Adam Hutchins, Jennipher Tripp, Lauren Mosakowski, Kathleen Lewis, Tiffany Nguyen and Stephanie Esther.
Councilors also voted Tuesday on a change to the ordinance governing how long members can serve on certain existing boards and commissions.
The ordinance dictated that appointed members of the Planning and Zoning Boards could serve for no more than ten consecutive years – making no exception for those who had served as alternates, or who had only served a partial term.
In the case of Zoning Board Chairperson Robert Najarian, that would mean he could not be appointed for another full five year term in 2021, as he previously filled in for one year to complete the remaining time for a member who resigned.
“It wouldn’t be right to appoint someone to a five year position that can’t fill the term,” said Beauregard. “That was the genesis of the whole thing.”
“The purpose of this is to bring some consistency with the ordinance,” explained Town Solicitor David Igliozzi.
Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski, who was a council member when the ordinance was first created in the 1990s, explained the thinking behind the idea.
“There was concern about certain board members being populated for an exorbitant amount of time,” said Zwolenski. “There was a move to bring in new processes, new people. This is trying to tidy that up.”
Adjustments passed unanimously this week will continue to limit service to two consecutive five year terms, but will not count time served to fill partial terms, or as an alternate.
Councilors confirmed Najarian for a second term, and appointed Gail Denomme and Christopher Deziel to continue serving as alternates on the Zoning Board.
A change was also recently made to the town’s Senior Advisory Committee, with an increase from five to seven members, after a larger than normal number of residents indicated that they hoped to serve this year.
Councilors confirmed Linda Thibault, Guy Bouley, Irene Shewchuk, Melissa Smith, Jo-Ann Paulus and Christine Charest, for the resident positions, with Claire O’Hara to serve as council representative. Paul Jones and Tiffany Nguyen also submitted applications but were not appointed this week.