At its Aug. 15 meeting, the Marblehead Select Board set its joint meeting with the Marblehead Light Commission to fill the seat being vacated by Karl A. Johnson for Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
The board also set Sept. 2 as the deadline for those interested in applying for the vacancy. Anyone interested should send a letter expressing their interest and detailing their qualifications to both the Select Board at Abbot Hall, 188 Washington St., and to Michael A. Hull, chair of the Light Commission, at 80 Commercial St.
Johnson, who had been reelected to a three-year term on the Light Commission in 2021, sent his resignation letter to Town Clerk Robin Michaud on July 13, citing ongoing health issues.
Whoever is appointed to fill the vacancy would need to run for reelection next spring to serve the year that would remain on the term at that point.
In what they characterized as a difficult decision, board members by a 3-2 vote appointed Marc Liebman as an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals over Clayton Brite.
Liebman is a lifelong Marblehead resident and Marblehead High School graduate who had been managing both his own construction company and a kitchen and bath showroom in Salem before deciding to shutter the construction company about a year ago.
Liebman said he would bring a perspective lacking on the ZBA, that of a builder. Liebman said that he had long held an interest in serving on the ZBA but could not do so until he no longer had a conflict of interest with the construction company.
Brite, a real estate attorney in the Boston office of the Verrill Dana law firm, moved to Marblehead in April 2021 and said they have been “thrilled” with the sense of community and civic pride they have experienced thus far.
Board members Jackie Belf-Becker and Jim Nye voted for Liebman, while Erin M. Noonan and Alexa Singer voted for Brite before Chair Moses Grader cast the deciding vote for Liebman.
Board members said they hoped that Brite would not be discouraged and would continue to seek out volunteer opportunities in his new hometown.
The board had no such dilemma with its appointment to the Cultural Council, enthusiastically welcoming the only applicant, Rose Gould.
Gould spoke of her 20 years of military experience during which she had participated in a number of humanitarian missions alongside non-governmental organizations and saw first hand how “people at their darkest hour” found healing and hope in the arts.
Drawing upon her unique background, Gould said she hoped she could be “another piece of the mosaic” on the Cultural Council and perhaps broaden the range of art forms and cultures to which the community is exposed.
Nye called her presentation simply “fantastic,” while Grader called her a “classic graduate” of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the highly regarded graduate school of international affairs of Tufts University.
The board completed a discussion that had begun at its July 27 meeting over the MBTA’s proposal to relocate a bus stop near the intersection of Smith, Pleasant and Baldwin streets.
The MBTA’s initial proposal called for two cherry trees to be taken down on Smith Street, but through further discussions between the T, Department of Public Works and Engineering Department staff, the town’s tree warden and affected residents, a compromise emerged that will allow one of the two trees to be saved, while the other is trimmed back.
The board also approved a three-year lease of the property at 1 Widger Way for North Shore Medical Center, for an annual payment of $360,000. The new lease will begin a year from now.
Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer noted that NSMC has been operating on the property under a 50-year lease agreement that called for the hospital to pay the nominal fee of $1.
The relatively short three-year new lease term will enable the town to give full consideration to how it would like to handle leasing out property in 2026 and beyond.
The board also acknowledged an Open Meeting Law complaint it had received from resident Allen D. Waller, who is no stranger to filing such complaints.
Without acknowledging the nature of Waller’s complaint, the board authorized town counsel to respond to both Waller and the Attorney General’s Office, with which Waller had filed his complaint.