Tension between fire departments extends to Select Board appointments in Cavendish

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Select board reorganization meetings are usually pretty routine affairs in which the board sets its meeting dates, picks a chair and appoints the many – usually unpaid – volunteers to jobs like representing the town on the solid waste district board. It’s not particularly glamorous or controversial.

Newly elected select board member Stu Lindberg calling for an Emergency Management director who would be objective toward the town’s two fire departments. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

But in his first meeting as a member of the Cavendish Select Board, Stu Lindberg objected to the appointment of Robert C. Glidden as Emergency Management director saying that the person in that position “needs to be completely objective about both (fire) departments.”

Two volunteer fire department cover the area — Proctorsville, of which Glidden is the deputy chief, and Cavendish. Select Board Chair Robert W. Glidden is the chief of the Proctorsville Department.

Lindberg, who is a member of the Cavendish Fire Department, said he would like to discuss this but not publicly and Town Manager Brendan McNamara said he did not think they could hold an executive session without warning it.

There is a history of tension between the two departments and last year in March, Lindberg came to the board explaining that due to a lack of volunteers the Cavendish fire company was “looking for a way to close down.”

Board member Michael Ripley – who was the Emergency Management coordinator until December 2018 and suggested the change in the title – said it was something to discuss during the year, but that in a crisis people act in the best interest of the town.

“The infighting and childishness needs to be put aside in an emergency,” said Ripley.

Lindberg asked that the board get a “qualified person on board to fill the position impartially,” and suggested newly elected Select Board member Michael Kell, who said he had FEMA training as well as emergency training for Montgomery County, Penn., school facilities.

McNamara noted there was a motion on the floor to appoint Glidden and the board voted 3-1 in favor. Lindberg voted no and Kell abstained.

New wastewater regs proposed

McNamara distributed a draft town sewer ordinance to the board that will be discussed during several meetings in upcoming months and at a public hearing, prior to adoption.  The 26-page document prepared by Weston & Sampson Engineers lays out the rules for using the sewer system – especially as it relates to discharges that can hinder or even damage the operation of the treatment plant.

Town Manager Brendan McNamara introduces the draft of a new sewer ordinance

McNamara said that the current ordinance is about one page and was last updated in 1968. “It doesn’t have many teeth in it and after putting in a $1 million aeration system, we want to protect it,” said McNamara, noting that the state permit for the system is up for renewal and the state wants to know what the town is doing with this.

Lindberg asked what contaminate posed the largest problem and McNamara said that grease was a large problem for the treatment plant and that businesses that produce food need to have grease traps and maintain them regularly. He also noted that when Rt. 131 is torn up for repair, the town needs to replace about 350 feet of waste pipe between Singleton’s Market and the Proctorsville FireHouse that has sagged and where grease collects until it backs up. That has happened to both the fire department and the market.

“It’s unpleasant and costly,” said McNamara who hopes the new regulations will be adopted this summer.

Historical marker, tag sale approved

Margo Caulfield explains the process for getting an historical marker

Margo Caulfield and Bruce McEnaney  told the board that they were working on a state historical marker to make note of the 18 years that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn lived and wrote in the town during his exile from the Soviet Union.

Caulfield said that it was the longest that the Nobel Prize winner in Literature ever lived in one place. According to Caulfield, the request has to come from the town and asked the Select Board to approve it so she and McEnaney could get to work on it. McEnaney said that the state pays for making the marker.

Placing the marker near the town office was suggested, but McNamara felt it might draw in people looking for directions to the house. Caulfield said the town staff should put up a “no directions to the Solzhenitsyn house” sign like the Historical Society does. It was suggested – in jest – that “no directions” should be on the marker itself and the board approved the request.

The board also approved the use of the Greens in Proctorsville and Cavendish for the annual town-wide tag sale to be held on Saturday, July 27.

In other business

McNamara announced that Cold River Bridges would begin work on the long closed Depot Street Bridge next Monday. He said that the company was renting space from Murdock’s on the Green for its engineer and would be prepping the span for demolition with completion of the work this year.

  • The sale of 723 Main St. in Proctorsville will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 at the Cavendish Town office, 37 High St. There’s a minimum bid of $45,000 and the property can be inspected between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20.
  • Finally, there will be an Open House at the new Town Garage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday March 30. McNamara encouraged the public to come out and see the new facility, located at 157 Rt. 131 in Cavendish.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: CavendishFeaturedLatest News

About the Author:

RSSComments (1)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Stuart Nelson Lindberg says:

    The Cavendish Volunteer Fire Department is no longer looking at ways to close down. We are however, looking for volunteers, like so many other rural fire departments.