Paramedic, parking, parade top Edgartown selectmen’s agenda

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen approved on Monday the hiring of Brenden Cooney for the new paramedic position that was authorized by town meeting voters in April. Selectmen also called for better coordination between the personnel board, the fire and ambulance departments, and the board of selectmen.

Mr. Cooney was offered the job, filled out new employee paperwork, and resigned from his previous job before selectmen approved the hiring.

Although fire chief Peter Shemeth recommended Mr. Cooney, the selectmen initially took his recommendation under advisement and did not act until Monday night.

“We are the signing authority,” selectman Michael Donaroma told Chief Shemeth, who attended the meeting.

“We need to notify the personnel board,” chairman Margaret Serpa said. “I don’t believe people should be forwarding the paperwork for completion of a job unless there’s a letter from the appointing board.”

Mr. Cooney will begin work as a full-time paramedic on July 1.

The board also questioned funding for paramedic training. The town paid for the education and training for an unsuccessful candidate for the position.

“I don’t think we should pay for any more unless we approve that,” Ms. Serpa said.

Chief Shemeth outlined his role in the hiring, and his reasons for choosing Mr. Cooney for the position, in a letter to the board of selectmen.

“Please trust that I have the best understanding of the current and future needs of the department,” Chief Shemeth wrote. “We have worked together in the past regarding difficult personnel decisions that we may not have completely agreed on, but you have always supported my decisions and I am proud to say that all have produced positive outcomes.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the selectmen, with Police Chief Tony Bettencourt, and highway superintendent Stuart Fuller, discussed preliminary plans to reconfigure the Dark Woods satellite parking lot near the Triangle business district.

Town officials are considering a plan to sell permits for 24-hour parking to local businesses who need room to park large trucks or equipment.

The parking lot has been a source of problems, with abandoned equipment, long-term storage of vehicles, and storage of boats.

“It’s never going to be perfect, but we’re getting closer to something that will work, and the town will realize some revenue,” town administrator Pam Dolby said.

Dukes County Superior Court Clerk-Magistrate Joseph Sollitto reported to selectmen that July 4th parade planning is on schedule, and he formally asked selectmen to appear in the parade and judge the floats. Mr. Sollitto is officially organizing the parade for the first time, after Fred “Ted” Morgan stepped down from those duties after decades of service.

There is one pressing need that remains, however.

“We need convertibles for the parade,” Ms. Dolby said.

“And we don’t need them to break down,” added Ms. Serpa.