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One of the Board of Selectmen's top priorities for at least the past five years has been what board members term the "quality of life" in Milford. Selectmen have stressed the importance of ongoing multi-family housing inspections by the Neighborhood Task Force – a cross-department group comprised of officials from the Building and Inspections, Police, Fire, Assessors and Health departments.

So, it's embarrassing that two recent building issues – one opposite Town Hall on Court St. and the other opposite Town Hall at North Bow St. and Main St. – were not found by the Neighborhood Task Force.

The Court St. problem was found by a multi-jurisdictional police task force serving a warrant for an out-of-state crime. The North Bow St. issue came to light when a resident of that building came to Town Hall and the address he gave didn't match the addresses the town had for occupants of that building.

To make matters worse, the North Bow St. situation involved unresolved violations dating back 17 years ago to 2001. "That's a few building commissioners ago," said Selectmen Chair Will Kingkade at his last board meeting. He'd like to know why that happened.

When former Building Commissioner John Erickson – now running against Kingkade for selectman – resigned last fall, selectmen decided to restructure his department to make sure there was time and resources for the Neighborhood Task Force to function properly. Selectmen said they were making the building commissioner and local inspector positions full-time – not just in terms of hours, but meaning the people holding those two positions could not have any other jobs. The board also decided to increase the pay for those jobs to make them more attractive to potential candidates.

Guess what happened with those ideas? Because selectmen did not go first to the Personnel Board – whose members are appointed by selectmen – before tinkering with the two positions' job descriptions and salaries, the Personnel Board has taken its time on the two positions.

I don't routinely cover the Personnel Board. But, after reading the minutes of its meetings that are posted on the town's website, it's apparent that the Personnel Board is more interested in making the Board of Selectmen grovel before it and apologize month after month – October, November, December, January, February and now March –than it is a quick solution. When you see the request after request, after request after request, for more information – well, you get the point.

Kingkade told me last week he feels like the Personnel Board is "more hung up on process than our board's goals."

I guess that the Personnel Board's job – making sure all of its processes are followed. Funny, no other board gave the Personnel Board a hard time last fall when it failed to follow the Finance Committee's long-time process for vetting articles financial coming before Town Meeting Members

Just look at the Finance Committee's recommendations for Article 3 and Article 4 on the October 30 Special Town Meeting warrant: "The Personnel Board did not come before the FinCom therefore no information was available and no discussion was held."

There's making a point, and there's making a point. The Personnel Board made it to the selectmen last October. Several months later, it's just holding the job review process hostage. The local inspector quit after not being paid what he was promised. If this stalemate continues, the building commissioner can't be far behind.


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