Subscribe to the Duxbury Clipper and stay informed where news matters most –– your hometown!
|Chilly reception for cold calling|
|Written by Susanna Sheehan|
|Tuesday, 14 July 2009 14:06|
Selectmen may consider a new town bylaw to prohibit town employees,
including fire fighters and police officers, from soliciting money from
This week, resident John Bear asked selectmen to consider a town-wide policy that would stop the phone calls and other ways some town employees seek donations for their charitable causes. Bear questioned the appropriateness of allowing solicitations by town employees. He used as examples the Duxbury police departmentâ€™s practice of hiring a company to call residents for donations and also the fire departmentâ€™s â€œfill the bootâ€ campaign, which is also used to raise money for specific causes.
Bear said that â€œthe practice smacks of group protectionâ€ and that many people think that they will receive favorable treatment in return for their donation.
â€œI think itâ€™s become abused and I donâ€™t think itâ€™s appropriate for civil servants,â€ said Bear.
Bear was also bothered that most third parties hired to solicit take more than half of the money they raise.
According to town counsel Robert Troy, the town may limit or prohibit solicitations by public safety personnel by asking their union to include such a ban in their union contract. The town can also adopt a bylaw at Town Meeting that deals with this issue as it relates to any public safety representative and non-union employees.
Selectmen Chairman Betsy Sullivan said she hates getting solicitation calls at home, but she wondered how this type of limitation would affect the fire department when it allows people to drop off Toys for Tots at the fire station or another department or it was collecting food for a local food pantry.
Selectmen John Witten said he agreed with Bear about the issue, but was concerned that a ban that was too broad would be detrimental. Witten said he felt a bylaw would be needed.
Bear said that selectmen could create a policy that addressed the details of acceptable versus non-acceptable solicitation.
Town Manager Richard MacDonald said he would begin to work with union bargaining units to get the anti-solicitation language into a union contract. He called this â€œthe first step.â€
In other business, selectmen:
â€¢ Observed a moment of silence to honor long-time town volunteer Paul Arnsenian, who died suddenly on July 6 at the age of 83.
â€¢ Learned that the low bidder for the Percy Walker Pool Renovation project is PJ Rogan Construction Co. of Braintree with a bid of $1,839,853. The other two low bids were between $8,000 to $10,000 more. Town Manager Richard MacDonald said the plans will include two upgrades, the pool stairs and shades for the bank of new south-facing windows, bringing the total cost up to $1.889 million. Earlier this year, voters approved $2.2 million for the project.
â€¢ Learned that MacDonald is close to appointing a new crematory study committee and is planning to appoint a permanent town-wide building and maintenance committee.
â€¢ Approved a new electric service pole for a new home on Spruce Street contingent on a final approval from DPW director Peter Buttkus regarding tree trimming and removal.
â€¢ Supported a resolution to adopt a new bottle bill that adds a nickel deposit to water, juice and sports drink bottles, but amended the resolution to state they wanted the unclaimed deposit money not to go into the stateâ€™s general fund but be devoted to environmental causes.
â€¢ Voted unanimously to support a letter from the Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee requesting a meeting with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency about certain issues at Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth.
â€¢ Went into executive session at the end of their meeting to discuss collective bargaining and agreed to hear a presentation from members of the Service Employees International Unionâ€™s bargaining unit and their attorney.