WESTFIELD – Starting the Oct. 3 City Council meeting with what he called an easy vote, At-large Councilor Brent B. Bean, II made a motion to approve a grant for immediate consideration from the Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Division for LED lighting in the city.
The total grant for $202,525 broken down gives $35,960 for Westfield Middle School LED, $68,492 for the DPW garage, and $98,073 for Barnes Airport.
“Easy acceptance here,” said Bean, adding that Westfield Gas & Electric also gives grants to the city around lighting. Approval for the grant was unanimous.
An appropriation of $10,000 from the Reserve for Unforeseen account to the Technology Center, part-time hourly account was referred to the Finance Committee.
Immediate consideration was requested by Personnel Action Committee chair Cindy C. Harris for the appointment of John Leary to the Flood Control Commission. Harris said one member is having a difficult time getting to the meetings, and doesn’t want to leave the commission without a quorum. She said Leary has been on many commissions in the city, including as chair of the Community Preservation Committee and on the Conservation Commission, and both experiences would help the FCC.
Leary has also served on the Council on Aging, School Committee, Police Commission, and as a Ward 1 City Councilor. She said both the city engineer and FCC chair have endorsed his appointment.
Current Ward 1 Councilor Mary Ann Babinski said that she attended the last FCC meeting at which Leary was present, and chair Al Giguere said he was 100% in favor of the appointment. Several other councilors spoke in favor of Leary and the need on the FCC, before a unanimous vote in support of the appointment was made.
Also approved by immediate consideration was the appointment of Wayne Weatherwax as a member of the Westfield Cultural Council. Harris said Weatherwax, a 21-year Navy veteran who has traveled the world, is interested in painting, art and literature. He currently serves as chair of ArtWorks Westfield, but his term is nearing an end.
Harris said immediate consideration was requested because the Council is about to enter its grant phase, and needs the help to review applications.
Ward 3 Councilor Andrew K. Surprise abstained from the vote, saying that he serves on the ArtWorks board which has received grants from the Cultural Council.
Referred to the Personnel Action Committee was the appointment of Jane DeBarbiere as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission.
In a vote of 12 to 1, an Intermunicipal Agreement between Westfield and Southwick for Weights and Measurements services was approved, with the provision that the inspector be indemnified by Southwick.
At Tuesday’s Legislative & Ordinance Committee meeting, Assistant City Solicitor Shanna Reed said Southwick had approached the city because their inspector is no longer with the town. She said the Southwick Board of Selectmen had approved the agreement, as had the city union. Reed said it was a similar arrangement to one with the building inspector.
At City Council, Bean questioned why Southwick isn’t taking care of itself. “I don’t see much coming the other way,” he said. The IMA was approved 12 to 1, with Bean as the sole no vote.
Surprise had three motions come out of the L&O Committee as resolutions with positive recommendations to the Council.
The first was a resolution to give monthly statements of appropriations and expenses to the City Council. Surprise said with a new mayor, councilors want to be aware of monthly expenses going forward.
Bean called it “a line in the sand” with a new mayor they don’t even have yet, and said it would start the relationship on a terrible footing.
Emmershy said that Mayor Brian P. Sullivan was fine with it, he just wanted the Law Department to take out private information before any data drop. The resolution passed 11 to 2, with Harris and Figy opposed.
A second resolution will provide needed detail and a summary form on grants to the city.
“The idea behind this is some grants require matching funds and new staff, and we need to know about this,” said Surprise.
“The state is really good at sneaking in those things,” said Allie. The motion passed 11 to 2, with Bean and Figy opposed.
The third resolution asked for a capital improvement plan by May 1 of each year. “As a ward councilor, I would like to know what projects are coming up,” Surprise said. After some debate, the resolution passed 10 to 3, with Bean, Figy and Harris opposed.
Emmershy said the Charter & Rules committee, which originally had intended all three motions to be charter changes, had worked with the Law Department on drafting the resolutions.