Tempers flared last night as Orange residents asked questions of the two remaining Select Board members, Pat Mercer and George White. Here's a brief summary of the concerns expressed:
Delay in appointing a new Board member: Since Bob Ells resigned, citing "continuous hostility" on the Board, the remaining members have delayed appointing a new member. Last night Pat Mercer pointed to a legal pad, saying residents were welcome to sign up. She and George White announced that they were attending a state training session this week. They promised to hold an open meeting before selecting a new member.
Clerical problems: Since Sandi Pierson resigned as Board secretary, citing "animosity and backbiting," a new secretary has not been found. Sandi used to send us minutes to post online. Jay Heinrichs requested an electronic copy of the last two meetings' minutes, and Pat said they were only available in paper form. The minutes of May 12 failed to record a crucial 2-0 vote by the board to allow former Treasurer Tessa Michetti to examine the town's books. When asked to explain the absence, George White said, "I can't keep track of everything." At the May 12 meeting, Pat Mercer promised that the position of secretary would be posted the following morning. As of today that still had not been done.
Financial concerns: The Town has not made any FICA payments since March 2014. Nor have the Town's required payments to the school district for April 1 and May 1 been made. Tessa Michetti offered to do that and to present her findings; that presentation was supposed to happen last night. However, Treasurer Cathy Bean must first appoint her as deputy treasurer. So far that has not happened.
We were saddened that some residents--understandably upset--raised their voices more than they should have. Please try to attend Select Board meetings; we'll alert you before each one. The Town needs you.