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New Mendon Library Building Committee Formed

During a January 7 meeting, the Mendon Board of Selectmen appointed a newly formed Library Building Committee. The need for the Committee comes after the town passed two debt exclusions in November to purchase the former St. Michael's property on North Avenue and renovate it into a new, larger library for the community.

Prior to the Board officially appointing the 10 member committee, Selectman Lawney Tinio read the names of the candidates proposed, which included Joe Cronin, Don Morin, Dan Labastie, Moritz Schmid, Jay Washburn, Kevin Rudden, Paul Fitzgerald, Amy Fahey, Chuck Noel and Susan Darnell.

According to a draft, the charge of the Committee is to safeguard the Mendon's and the Library's interest in the renovation of the former St Michael's Church as a new site for the Library. The members' goal is to make the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars by managing the architect and the project manager.

After the candidates' names were read, resident Mike Watson stated his opposition concerning the appointment of Don Morin to the Committee. Watson said he has misgivings on Morin's appointment based on his time serving on Regional School District's School Committee.

One of Watson's grievances concerned an issue back in 2011 when he stated that Morin misled the community concerning the safety and well-being of students having to do with a large amount of snow on the roofs of Miscoe Hill and Clough School. Watson also went on to say during Morin's time serving on the Regional School Committee, the committee tried to force a joint town meeting in order to support the Regional School District's budget, which Watson added would have effectively devastated town services.

In his email to Mendon Selectmen, which was also copied to the Town Crier, Watson stated "If he (Morin) is appointed it will be a constant distraction to the Committee's work and the process and every financial decision made will be called into question. To be clear, my issues with Mr. Morin are based on these positions and actions he took as an elected official of the Town of Mendon."

Morin, who was also in attendance at the Selectmen's meeting, responded to Watson's accusations stating he never supported a joint town meeting while serving on the School Committee. Morin told the Board that he, in fact, spoke out against it and never formally voted for such a meeting while on the School Committee. He also stated in regard to the snow issue in 2011, the School District took all the proper precautions when it came to the safety of the students and teachers at the schools and "Never did the School District place anyone at risk."

At one point, Morin told the Board that he would be willing to detract his name from the Library Building Committee for the greater good of the Committee. However, he added that he has always been a huge supporter of the Taft Public Library and served as the School Committee's representative to the Library and in the spring, took part in the interview process when searching for the new library's architect.

After several more back and forth exchanges between Morin and Watson, the Board eventually appointed Morin and the rest of the candidates to the new Library Building Committee.


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