WILMINGTON, MA — The newly constituted Board of Selectmen had a difficult time deciding which member(s) would represent their board on the recently formed Town Ice Rink Committee at Monday night’s meeting.
Selectman Mike McCoy and Selectman Kevin Caira both expressed interest in serving on the committee, which will explore options in hopes of one day providing an ice rink for the Town of Wilmington.
“I understand Mr. Caira is also interested in serving on the [Rink Committee]. Maybe there could be two members serving on the board?,” suggested McCoy, who previously expressed his desire at two recent Selectmen’s Meeting. “I was very interested in serving in this capacity… I don’t know if we’re going to be having one member or two members serve? I’m sure we can do whatever as we’re the Board of Selectmen.”
“I would support two members on the Board of Selectmen,” responded Selectman Jonathan Eaton. “I think the more responsive this board can be to exploring our options for a rink and indoor recreational facility, I think that serves the town well. I would support both of you serving in that capacity.”
“I would suggest one [Selectman] serve on the committee… It was established with one [Selectman] on the committee. That’s the way I feel it should be,” Selectman Kevin Caira spoke up.
Town Manager Jeff Hull didn’t foresee any Open Meeting Law concerns with two Selectmen serving on the Ice Rink Committee as the Committee would already be following the Open Meeting Law requirements anyway. Hull also noted that two Selectmen serving would bring the committee’s membership up to an odd number (11), who could be useful in avoiding ties.
Selectman Caira then chose to make a motion that just one Selectman serve on the Committee. Selectmen Chair Greg Bendel seconded.
Before the vote, McCoy asked what the difference was with two Selectmen serving on the Yentile Farm Development Committee vs. two Selectmen serving on the Ice Rink Committee?
“I think it’s appropriate we have one [Selectman] serving. I don’t think we need two,” responded Caira, who brought the idea of an Ice Rink Committee forward to the Selectmen last month.
“I don’t have an interest in fighting over how many folks are going to serve on this committee,” chimed in Selectman Jonathan Eaton. “If two members that are capable and interested in doing so, we should put them both on and have them do the best work they can.”
“I agree with Mr. Eaton on that,” added Selectwoman Jomarie O’Mahony.
The Board then took the vote — with Selectmen Bendel and Caira in support of having just one Selectmen serve, and Selectmen Eaton, McCoy, and O’Mahony in support of having two Selectmen serve.
In a surprising development, Selectman McCoy — who was in the majority and would have in all likelihood been voted onto the Ice Rink Committee seconds later alongside Selectman Caira — decided to rescind his vote and ask for re-vote that only one member serve on the Committee. The motion passed 4-1, with Selectman Eaton in opposition.
McCoy then made a motion to be appointed to the Ice Rink Committee, but his motion failed due to the lack of a second.
Selectman Caira then made a motion to be appointed to the Ice Rink Committee, which passed with 4 votes in favor and Selectman McCoy abstaining.
Later in the meeting, McCoy explained his decision to rescind the vote to allow for two Selectmen to serve on the Ice Rink Committee. In the process, he “shaded” and directly criticized his colleagues.
“I knew by me rescinding that vote, it would basically be the kiss of death for me,” began McCoy. “I’m from old school. When you say something, you mean it.”
“[Selectman Bendel], you publicly mentioned that you had no problem with me [serving on the Ice Rink Committee],” continued McCoy. “[Selectman Eaton], the night of the election, before the votes were tallied, I said I hope there would be no razzle dazzle [with this vote]. You assured me there wouldn’t be.”
“I’m from old school. When you say something, you mean it and you do it. But that’s me,” reiterated McCoy.
“I’m all about collaboration and I’m all about cooperation,” responded Selectwoman Jomarie O’Mahony. “I did not second the motion for Mr. Caira to only have one member when I knew two were interested. We were 1 vote away from 2 members being on that committee. You recinded that and that’s why I voted for Mr. Caira. I’m not about division. I’m not going to support division. Had you not rescinded the vote… you both would have been on the Rink Committee.”
“I don’t think we’re serving the community well by arguging over who’s on a committee and who isn’t,” responded Selectman Jonathan Eaton. ” I think we spent far too much time today discussing who is going to be on committees, which just delays the committees from getting their work done. I fully supported having two members on [the Rink Committee]. I don’t understand why we have to nit-pick how many members of a Board of Selectmen are going to be on a committee. That doesn’t serve anybody. This board has identiifed a need that the community wants to pursue… We should get on with it, rather than having arguments over who will be the representaive from the board.”
“Just to be clear, I had no problem [with you serving] at the time [I made that comment], but I had no idea that Mr. Caira was interested,” clarified Selectman Greg Bendel.
Selectmen also added WHS Assistant Hockey Coach and former School Committee member Mark DiGiovanni to the Ice Rink Committee to fill the vacant spot left after no representative from the Wilmington Figure Skating Club stepped forward to serve.
Also, as proposed by Selectwoman Jomarie O’Mahony, the scope of the Ice Rink Committee was expanded to include examining options for other indoor recreational facility uses (e.g., batting cages, indoor basketball courts, etc.), in addition to an ice rink.
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