TOWNSEND -- Selectmen approved a series of agenda items Sept. 24, including a mutual aid agreement with other Middlesex County police departments, an approval process for recruiting a new fire chief and the formation of a Charter Committee to review the town charter.

The board unanimously approved the Middlesex County mutual aid agreement, with little discussion.

"This is a mutual aid agreement that the Middlesex Chiefs Association has put forth for improving and increasing the amount of cooperation between departments in Middlesex County," said Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan.

The agreement, Police Chief Erving Marshall said, would give on-duty officers the authority to perform police actions in other towns that have signed on.

"It's been an ongoing issue due to a Supreme Court decision that basically limited our authority to act outside our districts. No matter where a police officer is, I think people want to see action taken," Marshall said.

Selectmen also voted to establish a seven-member Charter Committee to review the town's existing charter.

Earlier this year, Sheehan said, a different committee was established to review the charter for nonsubstantive changes. That committee found larger issues that they said were outside of their authority to address.

"They had identified a number of grammatical and nonsubstantive changes and identified other substantive changes that need to be looked at," Sheehan said.


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The committee will be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and members will be asked to present a report of their findings in time for the May 2015 Town Meeting.

Selectman Robert Plamondon and Sheehan both highlighted the importance of the committee. Sheehan said that since it was established, the charter has guided much of how the town operates.

"This charter, which we've had since 1999, has been guiding us for 14 years now," Sheehan said.

Selectmen also planned to establish a screening committee to find a replacement for Fire Chief Donald Klein, who will be retiring next March.

The committee should include either the Police Chief or Deputy Chief, two firefighters, a few members of town staff, and a citizen-at-large, Sheehan said.

Selectman Sue Lisio suggested including a representative of the schools.

"If this building project comes to fruition, this chief is going to be heavily involved with the schools," Lisio said.

Sheehan said he would write the selectmen a memo explaining how the committee could be constructed and bring it to the next meeting, Oct. 8.

Also approved were a request from Nancy and Chris Pappas, owners of Patriot Pizza and Subs, for a wine and malt beverages license, Chapter 90 reimbursement requests for work on Wallace Hill Road and Dudley Road and water department contracts to purchase a pick-up truck for $31,714 and to complete a radio frequency metering transmitter installation project for $79,500.

Selectmen reviewed a mandatory referral from the Planning Board of a zoning bylaw amendment to impose a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries through the end of 2014.

The bylaw will be presented at a Planning Board public hearing on Oct. 21, and placed on the warrant for Special Town Meeting on Oct. 29.