Board of Selectmen name change eyed

Jun 25, 2020 by

Published June 24, 2020


LYNNFIELD — Newly appointed Board of Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett is proposing that the board’s name be changed.

After Barrett was appointed chairman during a reorganizational meeting on June 17, he said one of his three priorities for the coming year is changing the Board of Selectmen’s name to Select Board.

“I think the time is now to begin the process to change our name from Board of Selectmen to Select Board,” said Barrett. “My daughter Kaylee said it best when she said, ‘Dad, I know you are a selectman, but what about me?’ As always, I know that we will be the leaders that we need to be on this issue and we must begin the process to make this change now.”

A number of area communities have changed their chief executive body’s names over the past several years. North Reading and Reading both approved changing their respective Boards of Selectmen to Select Board. Wakefield went in a different direction and updated the Board of Selectmen’s name to Town Council. Melrose switched the Board of Aldermen’s name to City Council last year. Saugus still has a Board of Selectmen just like Lynnfield.

Barrett has requested Town Administrator Rob Dolan and Assistant Town Administrator Bob Curtin to begin the process of determining what steps need to be taken in order to change the Board of Selectmen’s name. He noted updating the board’s name will require a change to the Town Charter.

“It is my hope that I end this tenure as a member of the Lynnfield Select Board,” said Barrett.

Selectmen Phil Crawford and Dick Dalton did not weigh in on Barrett’s proposal.

Barrett has also made overseeing the town’s fiscal year 2021 and 2022 budgets a top priority because both years are going to be incredibly challenging. He said it’s vitally important for the board to help make sure the reopening of local businesses and the town’s schools is successful.

“We must continue to provide the leadership in all areas necessary to manage this emergency crisis currently confronting our community,” said Barrett.

Barrett also said he and the board are looking forward to working with incoming Superintendent of Schools Kristen Vogel.

“We remain dedicated to working with the School Committee as they navigate a very difficult year for the school budget,” said Barrett. “When I was last chairman, the initiative I began and proudly helped create was the School Enrollment Capacity and Exploration Committee. I look forward to supporting the charge of the School Building Committee as it works to fix the issues of school space at our elementary schools. We remain dedicated to working with the School Committee to make sure our students have only the very best services in and out of the classroom.”

Barrett also congratulated Superintendent Jane Tremblay on her retirement. He said voting to appoint Tremblay as superintendent in November 2013 was his “proudest vote” during his three-year tenure on the School Committee.

“Jane gave us her best during her exemplary career and our children, teachers and community are in a far better place because of it,” said Barrett. “She may be retiring, but her legacy will impact us in a positive way for many, many years to come. I wish her and her family the very best.”

In addition, Barrett thanked Selectman Phil Crawford for his leadership as chairman over the past year. He commended Crawford for working to get the Jordan Park renovation project approved at the 2019 October Town Meeting.

“The world changed during his tenure and he led the charge to focus our work and leadership on leading Lynnfield through a pandemic of historic proportions,” Barrett continued. “Phil should be thanked for the great work he has done leading our town over the past year, and I’m proud to continue that work as chairman.”

Barrett also reiterated his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It has been my great honor as a resident and leader to join our young people in our town and across our state to peacefully protest against racism in any form and proudly proclaim that Black Lives Matter,” said Barrett. “I think it’s well and proper to proclaim our strong stance against racism in any form once again tonight. There is no place for hate speech and hateful behavior in the town of Lynnfield. We condemn any vile and abhorrent acts of racism, which is completely against our community values of respect and tolerance. We assure our residents that the town of Lynnfield stands with all who are targeted by hate speech and racist acts. We will absolutely not tolerate this behavior. As a Board of Selectmen, we remain committed to this strong stance against racism in any form.”

In closing, Barrett thanked Crawford and Dalton for voting to appoint him as chairman. Dalton was tapped as vice chairman and Crawford was named clerk.

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