PHILLIPSTON - The selectboard meeting Monday was well attended, with 30 citizens filling the meeting room and hallway as a petition to bring back former highway superintendent James Mackie was presented, several donations from the Firefighters Association were accepted, and a representative from Solar City provided a detailed question and answer session.
Gordon Tallman eagerly presented a petition to bring back Mackie, providing no less than 213 signatures. The selectmen asked if the letter and its signatures could be verified as all being registered voters and citizens of the town.
Tallman replied most of the signatures gathered were from Phillipston residents, but he could not verify if signatures obtained were from registered voters in town, and some were from out of town.
Tallman read a heartfelt letter to the selectmen, speaking of Mackie only receiving a grade of a B+ in his April 23 evaluation, and explained that Mackie did far more for Phillipston than his report and grade indicated. "Our town needs to bring Mackie back, he was a superb employee of this town for our community and the people," explained Tallman.
Referring to any previous complaints against Mackie about how some people claim they were spoken to by him, Tallman said, "I thought we still had a freedom of speech in our country. Isn't Mackie allowed the same rights and privileges by the constitution that we are? Mackie was a person who was compassionate and very dedicated to the citizens of Phillipston."
Tallman, reading the end of the letter accompanying the petition, stated, "We request that James Mackie be brought back and fully reinstated to full status."
Selectman Terry Dymek, after the reading of the letter, commented, "I think it is fantastic that you all took the time to get the signatures. This is what democracy is all about and I congratulate you for that."
A motion was made and approved by the selectmen to accept the petition with the signatures and the letter of request.
The Phillipston Firefighters Association made several donations to the town, and delivered a presentation with the items being donated through their charitably-raised funds.
Larry Whaley announced that the association had purchased a much needed new $1,500 roof saw that is lighter and safer for firemen to use up on a roof, a new weed whacker for maintaining the water holes throughout the town, and an additional small item for a total of $1,862.85. In addition to these items donated by the association, it was announced by Whaley that the association donated the sum of $1,500 to assist with various needs of the training tower behind their facility to help keep the firefighters fresh and up to date on training skills.
Solar Q&A Session
Mike Frawley, a direct sales manager, provided the next demonstration of the evening on behalf of Solar City, providing a lengthy question and answer session for the town and its citizens, who had many questions.
During the demonstration and session, Frawley fielded and explained procedures, costs, life expectancies and returns on various solar installations, potential pre-installment problem solving, and many other aspects.
Frawley stated that the solar products the company offers will reduce a home owner's bill by up to 85 percent, and went in to detail on several kinds of payment options.
The selectmen thanked Frawley for his assistance, and took any proposals under consideration and advisement.
Resident John Colby agreed with another citizen, advising to get consultation by departments at the UMass-Amherst campus, and emphasized, "Please pay attention to the scientists, and not the politics like other communities have when making your decisions!"
Whaley informed the selectmen and citizens that their next Firefighters Association Second Annual Golf Tournament fundraiser will be held at Ellinwood Country Club on Sept.13 at noon.
This will be a Scramble Style event. The cost will be $75 per person, and all funds raised by the association will off set the PFD funds which are limited. The registration fee will be due by Aug. 30. Proceeds from this upcoming fundraiser will be applied to purchase a new battery operated power stretcher that will cost $12,000. It was stated by Whaley that the stretcher will reduce the risk of injury, lift up to 750 pounds, and provide better service for those in need being assisted.
In other business, the selectmen were invited to attend an event being held by the Spencer Exchange Club in honor of State Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre), revised appointments to the Council on Aging, and met with Linda Langevin and the Phillipston Historical Society to tour the former mill factory area which is currently being modified into a natural trail-style walking site.