Royalston Selectmen act on road speeds, personnel policy 

  • The Royalston Board of Selectmen voted on a number of issues at its meeting Tuesday night, including speed limits and a proposed personnel policy. Board Chair Christine long is flanked by members Roland Hamel and Deb D'Amico. —Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 12/7/2018 3:00:11 PM
Modified: 12/7/2018 3:00:25 PM

ROYALSTON — Public Works Director Keith Newton Tuesday night presented selectmen with a list of several locations in town where speed limits needed to be officially established by the board.

Newton explained that speed limit signs are posted in all the designated locations but added the limits may not be legally enforceable.

Newton explained that several years ago, he and several other town officials traveled Route 32 and Route 68 and determined what they felt would be appropriate speed limits for several sections of those roadways.

“Signs were then put up after either complaints or expressing some concerns about speeds,” he said. “But I couldn’t find any documents that would say that there was any official action to establish the speeds. So, in the event that there’s an incident that requires any litigation it could possible be thrown out by the court.”

Selectman Roland Hamel explained further.

“Say someone got stopped for speeding and it turned out they had committed a felony, the arrest might not hold up because the stop wasn’t really proper,” he said. “The speed limit, even though it might be posted, was officially acted upon by the town.”

One priority for Newton was the establishment of a 20 mph speed limit on South Royalston Road/Route 68 that passes the new Village School location. He asked that selectmen approve that the limit be imposed during school hours.

Board Chair Christine Long asked if Newton intended to install speed signs with flashing yellow lights, similar to those erected in the area of the Royalston Community School on Winchendon Road/Route 68. The DPW chief explained there are no such plans at the moment, due in part to the cost.

“I just don’t have it in the budget right now,” he said, adding that the cost of two flashing speed limit signs runs in the vicinity of $3,500.

The board ultimately voted to set speed limits of 20 or 25 mph for seven locations, including several on routes 32 and 68, those roads lying within the boundaries of Royalston Common, and on Phillipston Road.

Personnel bylaw approved

Selectmen also voted unanimously to approve a personnel bylaw that will presented to voters for approval at a future town meeting. Long said it remains possible the proposed policy could be reworked before it goes to the voters.

The policy is relatively simple, consisting of three sections and six succinct paragraphs. Among other things, it reaffirms the role of the Board of Selectmen as the town’s Personnel Board. It also requires that any changes proposed in the bylaw must be posted on bulletin boards in various locations in town, and that department heads also be contacted via email regarding any such proposals.

“As the Personnel Board,” asked board member Deb D’Amico, “how do we evaluate employees. I guess I’m wondering, when do we as managers have a conversation yearly with the people who work for us. I’m thinking specifically of the department heads. How do they know the work they’re doing is valued, it’s good enough? When does that happen?”

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