Lunenburg officials cut the ribbon on a new outdoor space for seniors at the Adult Activity Center at the Eagle House. The project, which involved upgrades for active and passive relaxation, only began this past June and was finished in time for an official opening on Oct. 11.
Council on Aging
SHIRLEY — The Council on Aging, previously on record as a nine-member board, now consists of five members, officially.
Thanks to the passage of Article 6 on the Nov. 28 Special Town Meeting warrant, official and actual counts now correspond, with five members on the current COA roster, as shown on the town website.
Last week, with 147 voters signed in, all eight articles on the warrant passed, including Article 2, adopting the Community Preservation Act, a center-stage issue that likely upped attendance.
But other significant business was accomplished as well, including passage of Article 6, which was inadvertently left off the list in earlier reporting about the meeting. It called for downsizing the Council on Aging from nine members to five members, reducing the benchmark for a quorum.
The COA, which had already shrunk in practice if not on paper, wanted to reduce the membership number in hopes of “increasing the likelihood of reaching a quorum,” the article stated, in part.
Appealing to the Select Board to change the count earlier this year, COA Chair Marie Elwyn said the council hadn’t had nine members for some time and that wasn’t likely to change any time soon.
The COA hadn’t met for months and she was worried about violating state law, Elwyn said.
She explained that with few members at that time and scant turnout for meetings, the council fell short of a quorum and thus couldn’t conduct business, prompting numerous cancellations over the last couple years. No luck recruiting new members, either, she said, asking the board to reset the number.
Town Administrator Mike McGovern said it wasn’t that simple. He explained that because the council’s nine-member makeup was set in town bylaws, changing it would require a bylaw amendment. Specifically, General By-Law, Article V, Section 7.2, “Records and Reports.”
When COA Director Marilyn Largey later came to the board with a formal request to put the necessary article to amend the bylaw on the upcoming special town meeting warrant, the board agreed.
Bylaw amendments require a majority Town Meeting vote, which Article 6 easily attained on a voice vote Tuesday night, after which, Town Moderator Chip Guercio declared the article had passed.