After nominating and voting on a dozen or so candidates for some of the myriad of committees that oversee or run certain areas of town government, Belmont Selectmen Andy Rojas asked his fellow members a simple question: do we need all these committees?
Rojas' query was a bit more nuanced than a sweeping charge to eliminate the more than 60 committees and boards that oversee a wide range of functions in town, from the condition of shade trees to the financial oversight of the town's budgets for the Town Meeting.
Rather, Rojas felt that it was time to review just what the public groups do and if they have passed their useful time. Rojas and the other selectmen – Chairman Mark Paolillo and Ralph Jones – pointed to the Cable Television Advisory Board as an example of a committee that is required since the town has agreements with two cable companies to provide services to residents.
"I'd like to see a list of the committees and maybe evaluate all those up and running," said Jones.
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From October of last year until last week, Assistant Town Administrator Kelli Hebert has been holding down the fort while Belmont was seeking a permanent Town Administrator. During that time, Hebert – who had come on board her position only three-and-a-half months before being named interim Town Administrator – had run the day-to-day management of the town and led a successful budget process.
With that in mind, the Board of Selectmen agreed to increase Hebert's salary to approximately $90,000, up from $83,000, with a possible additional increase in three months.
"You kept us moving along for the year," said Paolillo.