TREMONT — The planning board here is set to decide whether the board chairman vacated his seat when he left town for the winter, notifying the rest of the board via email from the plane.
Scott Grierson emailed Oct. 23 to say he would “be gone during the winter months this year.” The planning board normally meets twice a month, so as of Jan. 8, he had missed four consecutive meetings. That puts him in violation of the governing ordinance, Town Manager Chris Saunders told selectmen Tuesday. But the selectmen decided not to declare a vacancy on the board until they hear what the planning board recommends.
“At this moment I am currently flying with family members… for an educational long distance backpacking adventure,” Grierson wrote in the October email.
“As is the custom for members that travel or are out of town with excuse, I request that my absences while out of the country on this once-in-a-lifetime experience be considered excused.
“I am happy to technically remain chairman and resume that… role immediately upon return with our vice chairman moderating meetings this winter.”
Susan Snyder is the vice chair of the planning board and has been leading its meetings. She wrote a memo to town officials Jan. 11 notifying them of Grierson’s absence and of the board’s plan to address the issue.
Saunders emailed Grierson to ask when he would be back, he told selectmen. Grierson’s response was “in two months,” Sanders said.
Another planning board member, Linda Graham, has also missed several meetings, but selectmen waived the attendance requirement in her case and not declare a vacancy on the board.
Graham has not missed as many meetings as Grierson, but she is in violation of the attendance requirements, having attended fewer than 75 percent of the meetings between Jan. 22, 2018 and Jan. 22, 2019.
Health problems have prevented Graham from attending meetings, Saunders wrote in a memo, “but members of the planning board believe her attendance will improve in the future.”
The board of selectmen voted unanimously to waive the attendance provision of the ordinance in Graham’s case.