By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard meeting on 10/30/17 began with what is commonly referred to as a “rant” by Selectboard member Daniel Freitas using the Committee Reports item to slam the Marine Resources Committee for a list of complaints.
“I don’t appreciate being called a ‘coward,’” said Mr. Freitas, saying he was also called dumb. “I don’t appreciate a lot of what was said at the [MRC] meeting.”
MRC chairperson Frank Coelho was in the room and tried to speak, with the two men talking over each other for a bit. Mr. Coelho made the point that they were talking about his board, so he should be able to answer.
Selectboard Chairperson Bob Espindola said he would allow the issue to be heard at a later meeting, and asked Mr. Coelho to hold his peace. For the 10/30 meeting, though, Mr. Espindola said he was trying only to get a report from Mr. Freitas on the MRC, and he promised to give them a spot on the 11/7 meeting.
Mr. Freitas said he was sure that he was also speaking for the Harbormaster, Assistant Harbormaster, and the Town Administrator.
Mr. Freitas, who is the Selectboard’s representative on the MRC, said the treatment had been going on for a long time.
“It’s getting a little tiresome.”
The issue got intense when the issue of the Northeast Maritime Institute being allowed to dock at Union Wharf.
Then, he said, the “friendly neighborhood reporter” wrote the story and never contacted him.
He also said, however, that the decision was not made by him or the Selectboard, that they were simply informed of it by Town Administrator Mark Rees.
“We haven’t even started to deliberate on it yet,” said Mr. Freitas.
“I will not be attending those meetings anymore,” he said , meaning the Marine Resources Committee. “It’s gotten so hostile.”
He said it was the same thing for the Harbormaster and Mr. Rees.
“I’m sure Mr. Rees feels the same way and some of the girls in the office,” said Mr. Freitas. “I’m not going to have it anymore.”
He specifically mentioned an agenda item about moving rocks at Hoppy’s Landing (see related story on page 10) being on the agenda for months.
“Every month we go back and forth on the rocks,” said Mr Freitas. “It’s an advisory board. We shouldn’t even talk about Union Wharf. It has nothing to do with them…They’re only an advisory board.”
“I’m done,” said Mr. Freitas “I’m not taking a beating on this anymore. And before [Mr. Coelho] speaks, I want an apology from him.”
His committee report ended with that, and then selectboard member Charles Murphy had the dubious honor of going next to report on his various committee assignments.
In other business, Mr. Rees announced that Vicki Paquette, who works in the Collector’s office, had been chosen to fill the position of Assistant Town Administrator, which opened up when Anne O’Brien was hired to become the town’s new Human Resources Director.
For the time being, Ms. O’Brien is splitting her time as Assistant TA and HR Director, while Ms. Paquette is splitting her time between the collector’s office and the TA job, until Ms. Paquette’s position is filled.
The board also met with Lori Bardwell of the Mattapoisett Woman’s Club, who asked if the town would participate in ringing bells on Veteran’s Day, 11/11, for one minute at 11 a.m.
Ms. Bardwell has organized several towns in the region to do participate in the “Bells of Remembrance,” for veterans. She said it is a tradition that got lost over the years, and her group is trying to bring it back.
The board voiced support for the idea and said they would look into how many bells there are in town that could participate.
The board also met with members of the Opioid Task Force, including New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro, Fairhaven Police Chief Michael Myers, and Fairhaven Fire Chief Timothy Francis.
The Selectboard received an update on efforts to reduce opioid deaths and addictions in the region.
“The problem is beyond New Bedford,” said Chief Cordeiro. “So it makes sense that we work together.”
The group is working to share resources and tactics to fight the growing epidemic.
“People are dying out there,” said Chief Cordeiro. “Our citizens are your citizens. Our kids are your kids.”
The task force will also look into ways to help first responders handle the emotional toll that addiction calls can take on them.
In other business, the board:
• Reviewed and accepted a draft of the FY19 Policy Goals and Objectives.
• Reviewed and accepted public access policies in anticipation of a public access station (channel 95) going live soon.
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