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Jul 26

From the Town Administrator's Desk- July 27, 2017

Posted on July 26, 2017 at 9:26 AM by Elizabeth Dukes

Volunteers are a critical component of the smooth functioning of our town and school operations.  Literally hundreds of you give willingly of your time to serve on various boards and committees.  The total number of “people hours” runs into the thousands on an annual basis – an impressive and healthy statistic!  From the Animal Control Board to the Zoning Board of Appeals, residents are giving generously to the Town. 

Right now we have 16 vacancies for which we are seeking volunteers.  If any of the following roles appeal to you please take the time to fill out a volunteer application form which can be found on the Town’s web site and/or send a letter of interest to the Selectmen’s Office at Town Hall.  Current vacancies include:

The Housing Authority and the Planning Board -- these are normally elected positions but no body ran for the positions this past May.  To fill the vacancies, the Selectmen and the existing members of the respective boards meet to jointly vote to appoint someone until the next annual town election in May.

Vacancies also exist on the ADA Committee, the Animal Control Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Bike and Pedestrian Committee, the Council on Aging, the Dredging Committee, the Downtown Improvements Project Committee, the Historic District Commission, the MBTA Advisory Board, the Manchester Energy Efficiency Programs Advisory Board, the North Shore HOME Consortium  and the Welcome to Manchester Committee. 

Information about what these boards and committees do can be found in the Town’s Annual Report or feel free to stop by Town Hall and we can answer any questions you have about any of the openings.  The time commitment varies but typically you can plan on attending a monthly meeting (some meet more frequently, others meet less.)  We have residents who have served multiple terms on a board or committee and others prefer to step down after completing a term (typically 3 years though some appointments are made annually.) 

We are also seeking recruits for our call fire fighter ranks.  This is a more substantial commitment given the training requirements but call fire fighters are paid for their time.  As previous articles have explained, we are actively seeking new recruits who are interested in being trained as fire fighters and emergency management technicians who join our career fire fighters on emergency calls. 

A new generation of call fire fighters is needed as recent retirements have decreased the number of available call fire fighters in Manchester.  We are looking for creative ways to reverse this trend. While some feel the days of volunteer fire crews are waning, there are plenty of communities that prove this not to be the case.   Whether Manchester falls into the waning category will depend on our ability to attract new recruits. (In the coming weeks discussions and information on different staffing options for our Fire and Rescue Department will be presented.) 

Overall, volunteerism remains alive and well in town.  If you have been waiting for your chance to become more involved in town affairs please consider applying for one of openings we have at this time.