Montague and Erving Notebook: April 6, 2024

The Montague Department of Public Works building. DPW Superintendent Tom Bergeron announced his retirement, effective June 27, during Monday’s Selectboard meeting.

The Montague Department of Public Works building. DPW Superintendent Tom Bergeron announced his retirement, effective June 27, during Monday’s Selectboard meeting. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Published: 04-05-2024 2:31 PM

DPW superintendent to retire

MONTAGUE — Department of Public Works Superintendent Tom Bergeron announced his retirement, effective June 27, during Monday’s Selectboard meeting.

“I wish to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with so many great town employees, boards and committees, which allowed me to bring the DPW to its higher standards,” Bergeron said, reading from a letter he had sent to the Selectboard. “I’m happy to meet with you to discuss the transition of duties to my successor.”

Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz thanked Bergeron for all he has done for the town and said he was going to “leave some big shoes to fill.” He added that the matter would be on the agenda for an upcoming meeting and the board voted to accept Bergeron’s letter of retirement.

Town expecting a ‘higher quality’ of service when Casella takes over trash, recycling

MONTAGUE — Town Administrator Steve Ellis informed the Selectboard on Monday that everything is in place for Casella Waste Systems to take over trash and recycling pickup from the current contractor, Republic Services, starting in July. A mailing and social media posting will be done ahead of this and Ellis said Casella will adopt all of the town’s routes.

“They’re very well aware that their first months on the job are going to be critical to establishing what the town thinks,” Ellis said, “and we have let them know that we are paying for a higher quality of service than we have received in the past and will try to keep the screws to them, quite frankly.”

As part of the contract, Casella will make a $5,500 donation to RiverCulture, an organization that seeks to foster Montague’s creative economy.

Inspector general visits Erving

ERVING — Inspector General Jeffrey Shapiro met with municipal leaders from Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester counties at the Erving Senior & Community Center on Monday to discuss challenges that small communities have with public procurement.

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“The public procurement process set forth in [Mass. General Laws] Chapter 30B is intended to ensure that there is transparency and accountability when spending the public’s money,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Smaller communities must adhere to the same rules and procedures in governance and procurement as larger cities, yet they have fewer professional staff and community lay leaders, elected and appointed, to handle these functions. I want to understand how the Office of the Inspector General can help small communities better navigate this process.”

“Municipal officials in largely rural western and north central Massachusetts face particular procurement challenges compared to those in eastern Massachusetts,” Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to Inspector General Jeff Shapiro for meeting with a group of municipal officials from the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District to listen and respond to their concerns regarding procurement in the region.”

Shapiro, who was appointed inspector general in October 2022, worked with Comerford and Erving Town Administrator Bryan Smith to organize the listening session with municipal officials from smaller communities in the area. Some of the topics discussed include using collective and cooperative contracts to purchase supplies, what to do when no one bids on a project, purchasing used equipment and specific steps necessary to verify pricing and other contract details.

Shapiro has already made changes based on similar meetings. For example:

■He eliminated the fee associated with renewing the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) Designation and offered every community a free set of courses so that one employee may earn the MCPPO designation.

■He supports raising the municipal procurement price threshold to $100,000 to match the school district threshold.

■He advocated for the consolidation of the process to procure electric school buses and their associated charging infrastructure, which is included in the governor’s Municipal Empowerment Act.

The Office of the Inspector General is an independent agency mandated to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse of public funds and assets at the state and municipal level. The inspector general is appointed by the governor, attorney general and auditor.