SHIRLEY -- For the first time since being banished from all town buildings by the Board of Selectmen two years ago, Fincom member Robert Schuler's physical presence helped the FinCom meet its quorum Monday night.
Selectmen only recently lifted their ban of Schuler, who for the past year had been calling in to meetings via teleconference. Shirley is currently in settlement negotiations with Schuler's ACLU attorneys.
The return of Schuler to the meetings comes at a time when the committee has lost its chairman, Frank Kolarik, who resigned recently for health reasons.
Kolarik had served on the committee for 12 years, many of them as its chair.
He will be sorely missed," said Vice Chairman Mike Swanton, who was later elected the new chair.
He spent more time on this endeavor than anybody I've ever known," Schuler said of Kolarik, who was a staunch supporter of Schuler throughout his banishment. Schuler is now in his fourth term on the committee.
"We are going to have to fill this breach," Swanton said. "He was pretty much a one-man show in terms of minutes, agendas, etc."
"He spent a lot of time just in meetings in town," added Schuler. "I don't think you can cover that."
The FinCom's newest member, Stewart Cady, volunteered to assist Swanton and was elected to serve as vice chairman. Schuler was elected secretary.
The five-person committee is now short two members, as member Roy Ellis resigned at the end of his last term, on June 30.
Swanton recommended that the committee return to rotating the position of chairman annually.
"In some way we may have taken advantage of Frank's willingness to remain the chair," he said. "Rotating the position would give others a chance to provide the leadership."