GROTON -- In a unanimous decision, the Board of Selectmen in a joint meeting with members of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee presided over by the town moderator voted to appoint Kristian Gentile as the town's alternate member of the Nashoba Valley Technical School Committee.
With current member Kevin McKenzie unable to attend meetings of the School Committee due to an ongoing illness, Gentile will likely sit in for him as an active member in upcoming meetings.
Gentile, herself the mother of two students currently attending the technical school, will attend her first meeting of the School Committee on April 9.
In a separate decision prior to that concerning Gentile, selectmen voted to re-appoint McKenzie as the town's regular representative on the School Committee for another three-year term.
Unable to attend the April 1 joint meeting, McKenzie's sentiments were read from a letter by Berta Erickson in which the School Committee member said he regretted not being able to attend the meeting personally but thanked all those who have wished him well and that he expected to recover, albeit slowly, from his illness and eventually re-assume his duties.
"As far as I'm concerned, Kevin has served as an outstanding representative (on the School Committee)," said Erickson, adding that McKenzie has been conscientious with Nashoba's budgeting and has actively supported fundraising efforts in town. "He deserves reappointment."
"Kevin has singlehandedly re-invigorated that position," said board member Peter Cunningham of McKenzie's role as the town's representative on the School Committee for the last several years. "The town has benefited greatly from him being in that position."
Gentile, meanwhile, was only asked a single question by Groton-Dunstable School Committee member Leslie Lathrop, who wanted to know if she thought the amount spent by the town per pupil at each school was comparable.
Gentile responded that she was uncertain of the details at that time but vowed that as a member of the Nashoba School Committee, she would represent the concerns of Groton.
Also at their April 1 meeting, selectmen voted to ratify the appointment of Edward Cataldo as the town's new full-time building commissioner and zoning enforcement officer.
Cataldo was hired to augment an existing part-time position needed due largely to an increase in building activity in town, including such upcoming and ongoing projects as renovation of the Prescott and Tarbell Schools, the new Center Fire Station, and developments like Boynton Meadows and others.
At a previous meeting, Town Manager Mark Haddad told selectmen that an expected annual salary of about $70,000 for the new position could be offset with money collected from fees and from within the town's operating budget.
The town manager also noted that in 2012 there were 339 building permits pulled, a sign that the housing industry, in Groton at least, was improving.
Haddad said Cataldo was chosen from among 15 applicants, out of which only four were chosen to be interviewed, all strong contenders. Cataldo, however, who served for 19 years in a similar capacity for the city of Leominster, was the "outstanding" candidate.
"I couldn't be happier to make this appointment tonight," Haddad told selectmen. "He's ready to hit the ground tomorrow."
Selectmen concurred with the choice and voted to ratify Cataldo's appointment.
Due to reasons of health, Campbell announced her retirement unexpectedly last month, well ahead of her official retirement date of June 30. A search committee was thrown together that included Haddad and members of the Council on Aging and interviews of possible candidates for Campbell's replacement conducted. Haddad reported to selectmen that a good candidate was found with experience in a New York-based senior center, but was not yet prepared to identify her at the meeting.
* Decided to establish a subcommittee to revisit the town's bylaw covering unregistered vehicles in town. According to Haddad, the issue came to the fore after his office was apprised of the proliferation of unregistered vehicles littering properties in the Lost Lake neighborhoods. He suggested the creation of a subcommittee made up of himself, the new building commissioner, police Chief Donald Palma, town planner Michelle Collette, and Selectman Joshua Degen, who would then submit their recommendations to the Bylaw Review Committee for consideration. If changes to the bylaw were deemed needful (which could include other kinds of vehicles besides cars such as boats and trailers), suggested language could be prepared for consideration by residents at fall Town Meeting.