By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison formally introduced the town’s new Director of Planning and Economic Development, Paul DiGiuseppe, at the Select Board meeting on 8/21/23.
Ms. Ellison said he has “many, many years of planning and economic development.”
He comes to Fairhaven from Middleborough, where he was Director of Economic and Community Development. He has also worked in the planning departments in Norton, Mass.; Austin, TX; and Tallahassee, FL
Mr. DiGiuseppe said it was a honor to be there and appreciated being in Fairhaven. As of that evening, he had been on the job for one week, and people have been “so friendly,” he said.
He has been “exploring,” he said. “This is as good as it gets.”
Mr. DiGiuseppe told the board he was looking forward to working with the small businesses in town, looking at the Route 6 study, 40R zoning ideas, and at areas that could see redevelopment.
He noted there is not much vacant land in Fairhaven, but he had some ideas on how to get some of the vacant commercial spaces in town occupied by businesses again.
He emphasized that it was important to build personal relationships with people.’
Ms. Ellison also made a point of thanking Cathy Melanson, chairperson of the Planning Board, who stepped in to help while the planner position was vacant.
“She cleaned up that office to the point that a new planner is in a good spot,” said Ms. Ellison, adding that Ms. Melanson “kept that department afloat.”
“Well, I’m not done yet,” said Ms. Melanson via Zoom.
The board also discusssed a change in how emails to the board are processed. For awhile, SB office staff were answering emails or the chairperson would answer emails addressed to the whole board. SB member Bob Espindola had asked that any emails to the board’s general email address on the website be forwarded to all board members.
Ms. Ellison said she wanted to go back to the way it was because the current process was “cumbersome.”
She said she “literally” has no sense of how emails area being managed. Emails get fowarded to her and she has no idea what they are about.
Ms. Ellison said any emails that go to the general SB email should go to her office and staff will have the board on the distribution list.
Mr. Espindola said he would agree with a change, but did not want it to go back to the way it was when he was not receiving emails. He said if an email is meant for the board, it should go to the board members.
SB chairperson Leon Correy said the office would respond and the board would get a copy of the email.
Ms. Espindola said he wanted it to be clear that the answer was coming from the TA’s office and not the board.
SB member Stasia Powers said she did not believe individual board members should be restricted from responding.
Ms. Ellison made the distinction of an individual answering an email to him or her vs. a member answering for the board as a whole.
That is an important distinction, said Mr. Espindola, but wanted to make sure it was clear on any emails sent.
The board voted for the change.
The board also discussed a change to the name and charge of the Bikeway Committee.
Committee member Will Gardner told the board the committee’s scope has changed.
“We’re not just about the bike path,” he said. “We are aout promoting alternative transportation.”
The proposed name is Fairhaven Livable Streets Committee.
Although board members general supported the idea, the details got them bogged down a bit.
Ms. Ellison said she was concerned that the propsoed change was too broad. It might interfere with the work of other committees and departments.
The board decided to table the item so Mr. Gardner can meet with the town planner to decide on language that would expand the scope of the committee’s work without complicating matters for other departments.
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