On Tuesday night, the Select Board held their annual reorganization process. The meeting started off with then Chair Mark Dockser, passing the gavel over to Town Manager Fidel Maltez who opened the nominations. The nominations for Chair went the same route as 2022 with a unanimous 5-0 vote and only one member being nominated, Jackie McCarthy. With Jackie at the helm, the nominations and voting for Vice-Chair were headed down a similar route of 2022.
Back during the 2022 reorganization, board member Chris Haley nominated Mark Dockser to be Chair, citing the divisions in town and the hope with Mark and Chris as Chair and Vice would be able to bridge the gap together. Mark Dockser was then unanimously voted as chair. When voting came to the Vice Chair position, Mark nominated and voted for Karen Herrick and she was elected to the vice-chair position in a 3-2 vote with Bacci and Haley in the minority.
Fast forward to Tuesday night, Chair Jackie McCarthy opened nominations for Vice-Chair and nominated Mark Dockser, seconded by Karen Herrick. Chris Haley then nominated himself which was also seconded by Karen Herrick. Discussion began with Jackie on her reasoning for nominating Mark:
“I learned a lot from his work in the past year as chair and I think he would make a great choice as Vice chair hence my nomination”.Chair Jackie McCarthy on her nomination of Mark Docker to Vice-Chair
Chris Haley then went next and gave his reasoning to each board member on why they should vote for him. Speaking to Carlo Bacci, Chris mentioned that he was told by Carlo that it was only a Tuesday night meeting every two weeks and nothing could be further from the truth.
Chris then mentioned the walk that he and Mark had after the 2022 vote and referenced the TV show “Quantum Leap” and Mark being conflicted with the opportunity to change the vote this time around for him.
Turning to Karen, Chris referenced the lunch they both had with Fidel last month and a big take away was that a potential new employee told Fidel that they would not come to work in Reading because it was too political there. He concluded with mentioning that she and the board have the opportunity to go ahead and change that tonight and let that potential employee know they made the wrong decision.
Lastly, Chris talked to Jackie about their time working on VASC together and how they worked exceptionally well with each other and how everything that the board has asked her to do this past year, she’s done. Chris concluded with the following statement:
Over the past two years, I’ve been secretary, I was on the PARC committee. I served on the ARPA committee with Mark. I’ve attended each and every single one of those meetings with perfect attendance the entire time. Lastly even though our signs might not overlap in people’s lawns throughout the year, when we walk through that door over there, I’d like to think that everything is put to the side for the better part of the community and tonight we can actually show everybody that that is indeed what we are doing. So, I ask you all to highly consider voting for me for vice-chair and like I said, I think Jackie and I will do a spectacular job. No offense to you Mark, you’ve done a spectacular job repeatedly but I’m fairly confident that Jackie and I will be able to do what’s best for this community.Chris Haley on asking the board to highly consider him for Vice-Chair
It was then Mark Dockser’s turn to speak and he stressed the importance of all 5 board members as being equal and hoping to be the voice that can guide Jackie as the new chair in her role.
I’m happy to serve as Vice chair to accomplish that if the board felt otherwise I’d be happy to still be very hopeful but I think the most important thing is that we work together as a group of five to do the right thing for this community and figure out how to do it.Mark Dockser on him serving as Vice-Chair
Voting then took place alphabetically with Mark Dockser’s nomination going first. Jackie, Mark and Karen voted for Mark with Chris and Carlo voting against thus electing Mark as Vice-Chair with a 3-2 vote. Afterwards, the board attempted to vote on Chris Haley’s nomination as Vice-Chair but Carlo Bacci interjected and said it wasn’t needed and Chris agreed with him.
The vote for Secretary was next but this time with members advocating against it. In the end, Karen Herrick “sensed something” and accepted the 5-0 unanimous vote for that role over Carlo.