NOMINATIONS TO FIVE COMMISSIONS AND FINANCE COMMITTEE ANNOUNCED

Photo: BlueDiamondGallery.com (creative commons).


Town Manager Paul Bockelman, in a memo to the Town Clerk dated June 3, 2019, announced his nominations to the following town commissions: Conservation,  Public Art, Human Rights, Local Historic District, and Historic. These nominations were approved by the Outreach, Communications and Appointments Committee of the Town Council (OCA) at their meeting of June 17, 2019 and will come before the full Town Council for approval at their meeting of July 1. These nominations will be summarized in turn below.   The Town Manager’s appointment memos can be found here.

OCA reviewed, but did not take action on, their nominations for resident (non-voting) members to the Finance Committee.  Those nominations will be summarized below. OCA will resume consideration of nominations to the Finance Committee at their meeting of July 1.   The OCA appointment memo can be found here:


Note: the profiles below are taken from town-generated materials and do not reflect any opinions or views by The Indy.

CONSERVATION COMMISSION

Nominated for:

Three Year Terms:  Casey Jo Dufresne and Laura Pagliarulo,

Two Year Terms: Lawrence Ambs and Brett Butler (reappointment)

Fletcher Clark and Jenn Fair will continue as members with their terms expiring on June 30, 2020.

Nominee Profiles:

Lawrence Ambs is a former professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMass Amherst. He created and led the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and was a member of the State’s Net Zero Energy Task Force.

Ana Devlin Gauthier got involved in town government through her membership on

the Dog Park Task Force. She is an avid user of the Town’s hiking trails. After attending

Amherst Regional Public Schools, she earned a degree in environmental studies. She has

also been engaged with outdoor education, believing the protection of open space is

aligned with her values.

Casey Jo Dufresne is seeking to become actively engaged in local government

and the community. She brings training and experience in public administration and

seeks to focus her work on community engagement.

Laura Pagliarulo chose to live in Amherst for the quality of-life and quality of the natural environment. She has extensive experience in the field of energy and the environment, having worked for an environmental non-profit focused on climate change and energy efficiency and directing the community solar business for the world’s largest renewable energy company. She currently runs a community solar business.

Brett Butler has been a member of the Conservation Commission since March 3, 2014

Process:

The Town Manager reviewed applications of those who had expressed interest in serving on the Conservation Commission and assembled a team to conduct interviews. The interview team was comprised of Beth Willson, the Town’s Wetlands Administrator, Jim Pistrang of the Residents’ Advisory Committee, and Bockelman. The interview team interviewed all new applicants. All team members asked questions and contributed to the discussion about who to appoint at the conclusion of the interviews.

PUBLIC ART COMMISSION

Nominated for:

Three Year Term:  James Barnhill

Two Year Terms: Jacqueline Sheridan, Shoshana King, Amy Crawley, and Ellen Keitre

One Year Term:  Brian Arnold

William Kaizen will continue as a member with a term expiring on June 30, 2020.

Nominee Profiles:

Brian Arnold seeks to get involved in the community and give back to the

town in which he lives. He works at UMass where he is involved in student engagement

activities. He has also been active in numerous large events such as the homecoming

parade, commencement, and car show.

James Barnhill is a published, award-winning photographer who moved to town

recently and is seeking to become more involved in the community. He has served on the

Board of Directors of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School, one of more than

twenty nonprofit and for-profit boards he has served.

Jacqueline Sheridan: has lived in town for over 33 years and has been inspired to

become a part of the town governance. She has worked in media production as a

producer of documentaries for television and museums. She recognizes the importance of

public art and is dedicated to seeing more art in public places.

Shoshona King: has been a member of the Public Art Commission. since

September 12, 2018.

Amy Crawley has been a member of the Public Art Commission since July

28, 2015.

Ellen Keitre has been a member of the Public Art Commission since December 7,

2015.

Process:

The Town Manager reviewed the applications of those who had expressed interest in serving on the Public Art Commission. He assembled a team to conduct interviews:William Kaizen, of the Public Arts Commission; Keisha Dennis of the Residents’ Advisory Committee; and himself. The interview team interviewed all new applicants. All team members asked questions and contributed to the discussion during the interviews and participated in the evaluation and selection.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

Nominated for:

Three Year Terms: Matthew Charity (reappointment) and Romarin Speck. The designated student seat for a three year term is currently vacant.  No nomination was put forward for this position.

Two Year Terms: Benjamin Harrington, Deboarh Neubauer, and Gazit Chaya Nkosi.

One Year Terms: Sid Ferreira

Elizabeth Calm and Sophia Moldanado will continue as members with terms expiring on June 30, 2020.

Nominee Profiles:

Benjamin Herrington has volunteered in town government as a Town Meeting

member and was a regular attendee at Fort River Building Committee meetings. He is an employee of the School District working in the facilities and transportation department.

Deborah Neubauer has worked for the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County

for the past three years and is a social worker in the Franklin County jails. She has a

Master’s Degree in social work and works daily with people of high risk/high needs to assist them to meet the challenges they face.

Gazit Chaya Nkosi has worked in the School District as a paraprofessional and

speech pathologist. She earned a Master’s Degree in communication disorders and is

interested in becoming more involved in the town to increase access to and support the

development of a racially, environmentally, and economically progressive  community.

Romarin Speck is working and studying to be a human rights lawyer. He

attended Amherst public schools and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in social justice. He

was a small business owner and is committed to helping Amherst achieve its best future.

Emily Boutilier has been a member of the Human Rights Commission since

January 23, 2017.

Matthew Charity: Matthew has been a member of the Human Rights Commission since

July 1, 2015 and currently serves as its chair.

Sid Ferreira: Sid has been a member of the Human Rights Comission since July 1,

2013.

Process:

The Town Manager reviewed all applications of those who had expressed interest in serving on the Human Rights Commission. He assembled a team to conduct interviews comprised of Matthew Charity, chair of the Human Rights Commission; Keisha Dennis of the Residents’ Advisory Committee, Jennifer Moyston, staff to the Human Rights Commission; and himself. The interview team interviewed new applicants. All team members asked questions and contributed to the discussion  and arrived at a consensus about who to appoint at the conclusion of the interviews.

LOCAL HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

Nominated for:

Three Year Terms: Peggy Schwartz, Greta Wilcox, and Karin Winter.

Two Year Terms: Maurianne Adams and Jennifer Taub

Bruce Coldham and Jim Lumley will continue as members with terms expiring on June 30, 2020.

Nominee Profiles: (Note: only the two profiles below were provided in the Town Manager’s appointment memo.)

Peggy Schwartz has lived in a house that is part of the Dickinson Local Historic

District since 1984. She has a strong interest in preserving the character of the town and

has knowledge of the work of the Commission as her husband had served on the

Commision previously.

Greta Wilcox lives in the North Prospect, Lincoln, Sunset Historic District and is

committed to its preservation as an important area that enhances the beauty of the Town.

She recognizes that the Commission has to balance progress with preservation.

Process:

The Town Manager  reviewed all applications of those who had expressed interest in serving on the Historical Commission and the  Local Historic District Commission as one large applicant pool and interviewed all candidates who expressed interest in either of the two commissions because he discovered that many were not clear what the difference was between the two commissions. He assembled a team to conduct interview comprised of Jane Wald, chair of the Historical Commission; Jennifer Taub, chair of the Local Historic District Commission; Connie Kruger from the Residents’ Advisory Committee; Brandon Toppance, staff support for the two commissions; and himself. Not all members of the interview team were present for all interviews. Candidates were interviewed separately by the chair of the commission if the chair was unable to attend one of the scheduled group interview times. All team members asked questions and contributed to the discussion during the interviews. After the interviews, Bockelman conferred with all members of the interview team, including the two chairs of the commissions, to review the candidates’ skills and backgrounds and compared that with the needs of each commission. They were unanimous in recommending these appointments

HISTORICAL COMMISSION

Nominated for:

One Year Terms: Patricia Auth, Robin Fordham, Theodore Parker, Jane Wald, (all reappointments) as well as Jane Scheffler and  Hetty Startup.

Janet Marquardt will continue her term which will expire on June 30, 2020.

Nominee Profiles:

Jane Sheffler has a broad background in nonprofit management and would bring

strong skills to a number of committees. She has a graduate degree in public

administration and has strong research experience, which the Commission could use as it

seeks to revise the demolition bylaw.

Hetty Startup has an avid interest and strong background in history and

preservation. She has a Masters Degree in architectural history and has taught and

lectured on multiple topics involving art, history, and design at numerous venues.

Patricia Auth has been a member of the Historical Commission since August 13,

2018.

Robin Fordham: Robin has been a member of the Historical Commission since August

13, 2018.

Theodore Parker has been a member of the Historical Commission since February 1,

2016.

Jane Wald has been a member of the Historical Commission since August 18, 2015.

Process: see description above for  process for the Local Historic District Commission.

FINANCE COMMITTEE

Nominated for Appointment to the Finance Committee as non-voting members:

Mary Lou Theilman, Sharon Povinelli, and Robert Hegner.

Nominee Profiles:

Mary Lou Theilman, a former member and chair of the Finance Committee, brings a wealth of knowledge about the budget process and the workings of the Finance Committee in general. During her professional career, she worked as Dean of a large division at UMass, working with budgets and capital expenditures for 10 departments. Mary Lou has a special interest in schools, currently serving on the Regional School District Planning Board, and having served in the past as a member of the town and regional school committees.

Sharon Povinelli has been actively engaged in town government for a number of years and wishes to continue serving the Amherst community. She served on the former Finance Committee and the Joint Capital Planning Committee . She is a downtown business owner and is the treasurer of both that business and the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID).

Robert Hegner will bring strong analytical skills to the Finance Committee. For the last 11 years, he has been a Senior Vice President at ICF, Inc, a $1.2 billion global consulting firm, where he manages a $79 million government  contract to help New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy. He was also part of the senior management team to help Louisiana recover from Hurricanes Rita and Sandy. He has experience with all aspects of financial management, including defining projects, developing budgets, tracking expenditures against budgets, managing cash flow, etc.  He has also developed innovative financial and project management dashboards that track program performance against program expenditures and provide projections of future performance. Robert has just started working part-time, so has the time to devote to the Finance Committee.

Process:

All applicants were reviewed by the OCA interview designee, District Four Councilor Darcy Dumont.  All applicants were interviewed by a committee consisting of Dumont, and Town Comptroller Sonia Aldrich.  Interview questions were framed after considerable consultation with current members of the Finance Committee, which also contributed to establishing criteria for selection a follows: selection of resident members shall be based on relevant experience, skills and policy knowledge, with an emphasis on municipal and public finance. Across the appointees, the qualifications might include:

  • experience serving on finance committees or other private or public boards;
  • training/expertise in economics, finance, policy, or comparable areas; or
  • experience/interest in municipal finance.  

A full description of the process can be found here.

In the discussion of these nominations it was discovered that one applicant did not receive an invitation for an interview.  OCA postponed any further action on these nominations until that exclusion could be fully investigated. That discussion can be found here.

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