TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Select Board met on Dec. 21 at town hall for its final meeting of 2021. All members were present.
The board approved a change of manager application for Main Street Liquors at 391 Main St.
The board reviewed a snow and ice presentation from DPW Director Brian Gilbert.
The board conducted bulk approvals of licenses for 2022. According to Town Manager Richard Montuori, “everyone’s paid up,” leaving no delinquent licenses.
Member Todd Johnson motioned the minutes reflect that the approval is subject to all taxes and utility fees be paid. The board approved more than 100 renewals of liquor licenses, common victualler licenses, amusement licenses, entertainment licenses, pool table licenses, and class licenses.
The board will be interviewing three candidates for a Conservation Commission appointment in January.
The board conducted Montuori’s annual performance review. The process is part of Montuori’s contract as well as the board’s responsibilities. Montuori was assessed in several areas, including manager skills, budget preparation, direction and supervision of departments, organizational readiness, community relationships, and personal qualities.
Member James Mackey praised Montuori for answering many questions during the first year of his term. He highlighted Montuori’s cybersecurity work and attention to website upgrades; he also praised his communication with residents surrounding large developments and projects in town. Mackey requested that Montuori work on implementing a review process for department heads.
Johnson praised Montuori’s responsiveness and proactivity to issues and concerns of residents: “This town is super blessed to have you at the helm,” he said. “This is not an easy business any more. Many communities are struggling to find talent; in my opinion you’re one of the best town managers certainly in the region, if not in the Commonwealth.”
Johnson also highlighted Montuori as “exceptional at financial planning.”
Member Anne Marie Stronach echoed her colleagues' sentiments, praising Montuori’s management skills and policy work, adding that residents appreciate user-friendly town documents.
“The work that goes on behind the scenes is real, and it’s not easy work,” she said. “You make it look easy.”
Member Jayne Wellman commended Montuori and his team for their resilience in pandemic leadership. She highlighted his stewardship of many large infrastructure projects, including a new elementary school and new fire station, as well as his hiring of new police and fire chiefs. She also praised an improvement of communication with the community through social media.
Chair Jay Kelly praised Montuori’s organization and reminded residents that he likens Montouri to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“You run the bank, you’re protecting the assets,” he said.
Kelly highlighted Montuori’s good relationship between staff and board members; he noted that while staff gets a lot of negativity on social media, Montuori handles it well and works to protect his staff.
Montuori thanked the board for their kind words: “I am blessed to have an outstanding group of people to work with,” he said, noting that while managers in some other communities have difficult relationships with their boards, he values the diverse viewpoints board members bring to the table.
Montuori, who became Tewksbury’s town manager in 2010, cited the mentorship of late town counsel Charles Zaroulis who passed away earlier this year as foundational to his success. He thanked his “outstanding department heads and staff,” adding that he doesn’t think people understand how hard they work for the community.
In board member reports, Mackey said that the new town website will not be done by the new year as he had hoped, but is aiming for a January launch.
Johnson said that the Zoning Bylaw Committee is entering the “home stretch” before resubmitting a draft for the Town Meeting warrant; residents may offer comments at the public input session on Jan. 18.
Wellman said that the Lowell Regional Transit Authority is working on adding more electric buses to the fleet with accompanying charging stations.
Stronach added that the elementary school building project is on track, and teachers are starting to come into the school to see the layout and get ideas on what new classrooms will look like. Stronach added that nomination papers for the spring town election will be open in the new year, but she will not be running for reelection to the board.
The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2022. Residents may find the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33.