EGREMONT -- A special town meeting scheduled for later this month will include several funding requests on behalf of the town's police department.
The town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, at the Mt. Everett Regional High School Cafeteria.
The seven-article warrant includes three requests that would impact the police department. There is a request for $42,656 to pay interim Acting Police Chief Brian Shaw, who was has led the department while Police Chief Reena Bucknell has been on paid administrative leave. Bucknell was suspended following a vote of no confidence from her officers, and she has been on paid administrative leave since February.
Another article would increase the police budget $22,687, which is largely related to a renegotiated collective bargaining agreement.
The town will also request its new police facility be named the Stephen Michael Wells Police Department to honor the Egremont native. The U.S. Army chief warrant officer was killed on Feb. 25, 2004, when the military helicopter he was flying crashed during a reconnaissance mission near the Euphrates River in Iraq.
Voters at town meeting earlier this year approved spending $3,000 to build a monument and plaque in honor of the South Egremont resident at the village green in South Egremont.
The Board of Selectmen at tonight's meeting will further discuss Article 1, which pertains to funding Shaw's position.
The Board of Selectmen have $58,049 in state community policing funding from 2009. The funding can't be used for Shaw's position, Selectwoman Mary Brazie said.
Brazie said representatives at the state Executive Office of Public Safety have offered conflicting opinions about whether the town can use the funds or they must be returned. "It's kind of an up-in-the-air thing," Brazie said.
The request would pay for Shaw's part-time employment through December. Then Shaw would become the full-time police chief through the end of the fiscal year.
The town still has no resolution on Bucknell's employment. She was asked by Selectmen to sign an agreement negotiated in a closed-door session by Friday. Brazie said on Friday afternoon she had not heard that Bucknell signed the contract. Terms of the contract have not been publicly disclosed.
In addition to the police-related town meeting articles, there is also a request to borrow and appropriate $100,000 for the acquisition of a 24.93 acres of land off Mount Washington Road. The purchase of the property is to ensure the town's drinking water is protected.
To reach John Sakata:
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @jsakata