BETHEL — At their Jan. 7 meeting, Bethel selectmen discussed appointments and vacancies for several town committees.

Chairman Pete Southam said Ian Drew had planned to apply for the Bingham Forest Advisory Committee position. He said Drew cannot currently access his documents because they are on his federal computer, which has been affected by the government shutdown.

Southam suggested that the board should delay the vote until Drew has applied. Selectmen concurred.

Drew was one of the original members of the committee.

Rick Whitney, who attended the meeting, said he thought the length of the application process should be extended.

“The board of selectmen might want to consider opening up the applications for longer periods of time to encourage more applicants to apply to ensure that you get a balanced committee,” Whitney said.

The spreadsheet at the meeting showed that many of the positions did not have applicants.

“There’s a danger in people getting on a committee and having that committee be so lopsided that it doesn’t make sense to serve on it,” Whitney said.

Selectmen Don Bennett agreed, also citing the many vacancies.

“I think part of the issue, in addition to the timing, is figuring out a more effective way of getting the word out and recruiting for these positions,” Southam said.

Jewel Clark, also present, wondered if there were other ways to advertise positions besides the newspaper.

Town Clerk Christen Mason said the town advertises the positions on its website. People can fill out applications online. Incumbents are always sent letters notifying them when their term is about to expire, according to Mason.

She also said the positions have been advertised for six weeks now.

Other people that have applied for committee positions were Sarah Southam, for the Conservation Commission, Jim Bennett for the Ordinance Review Committee and Bingham Forest Advisory and Cheryl Thurston for the Planning Board. Southam and Thurston are incumbents.

Lloyd Sweetser made the motion to approve all appointments. Selectmen voted 4-1 in favor with Bennett opposed.

Other business

Town Manager Loretta Powers discussed getting rid of the time clock in the town office. Powers said only a few town office employees use it. Public Works and the Water Waste Treatment Plant also use it.

The time clock costs $39 a month to use.

All employees sign paper time sheets everyday also.

Southam said they should talk to other town department heads before making a final decision.

Powers said that Public Works and the WWTP both agreed to not use the clock anymore.

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