Selectmen Create ‘Common Sense’ Practice To Handle Naming Requests Of Town-Owned Property

WILMINGTON, MA — Over the past several months, the Wilmington Board of Selectmen and Wilmington School have been discussing creating a five-person subcommittee to handle naming requests of town-owned property.

At last week’s meeting, the Wilmington Board of Selectmen – at the recommendation of Chair Mike Champoux – decided to change course and scrap the proposed subcommittee, which would have seen the Selectmen appoint two members, the School Committee appoint two members, and the Town Moderator appoint one member.  These five members would have vetted naming requests, based on established criteria, and make recommendations to the town.

“The process being discussed seemed to have an extra layer of bureaucracy. We were overcomplicating the process,” said Champoux.  “I contacted School Committee Chair Steve Bjork to see if there was a simpler way to achieve the same results, creating a collaborative working model that would accommodate the interest of all parties.”

Champoux proposed that if an individual approaches the Board of Selectmen to name a piece of school property after an individual, the Selectmen would maintain its authority to vote that request onto a Town Meeting warrant, but the Selectmen Chair would first seek a recommendation from the School Committee before bringing the request to the Selectmen for review.

According to Champoux, Bjork has agreed to this “common sense practice” and will discuss the matter with the School Committee at its next meeting.

“Rather than going through and creating a subcommittee and multiple layers of bueareacuy, I thought it better to just resort back to common sense,” reemphasized Champoux. 

“I didn’t want to make the process more difficult for anyone who had good intentions,” agreed Selectman Greg Bendel.  “I appreciate the common sense and the School Committee’s attention to this.”

Champoux pointed out that any resident still has the ability to collect 10 signatures from Wilmington voters and place an article on a Town Meeting warrant for a vote.  The process outlined above would only be in cases where a resident goes directly to the Selectmen with a naming request to be placed on a Town Meeting warrant, as was the case this year when the Wilmington High School gymnasium was renamed the Lawrence Cushing gymnasium.

On a related note, School Committee Chair Steve Bjork mentioned at a recent School Committee meeting that there is an effort in the works to get the High School Auditorium named after the late Superintendent Joanne Benton.  Residents can anticipate a warrant article at the 2018 Town Meeting.

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