NORTH ATTLEBORO — It’s official. The new town council was officially sworn into office Monday, launching a new era in North Attleboro government.
The council takes over as the town’s legislature, replacing representative town meeting as part of the new government created by a charter adopted by voters earlier this year.
Town Clerk Kevin Poirier enthusiastically administered the oath of office as friends, family and former officials looked on.
Councilor Kathleen Prescott said it was an exciting night for her and a turning point for the town.
“I don’t think a lot of people get to be part of that kind of history,” she said.
“It’s a great honor and a privilege,” Councilor Julie Boyce said. “I’m looking forward to making some changes and improvements.”
There was a brief celebration after the swearing in with cupcakes for everyone, but then it was down to business with the first official meeting of the council.
The only contentious issue at the first meeting was when to hold future meetings.
Councilor Jo Ann Carthcart proposed meeting on Wednesday nights on a regular basis so the meetings would not overlap with the schedules of other town boards.
But, Councilor Justin Pare and Council President Keith Lapointe said they often have to travel for businesses on Wednesdays.
Councilor Michael Lennox said he would rather not meet on Thursdays because town hall closes early on Fridays so it difficult to get follow up work done.
So the council voted 6-2-1 for meeting the second Monday of the month, with Councilor Adan Scanlon abstaining. He said he had to see if he could rearrange his college schedule. He quickly changed his vote to yes.
Cathcart and Boyce voted no.
The council reconsidered, however, because there were calls for meeting more than once a month.
Councilor John Simmons said if the council is serious about getting the job done it should meet as often as possible.
The board then voted 9-0 for the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
Also approved were four ad hoc committees to meet and try to come up with the ways the council will operate in the future.
The committees will be temporary until permanent committees are created.
Councilors said private citizens may be appointed to the standing committees to work along side councilors when those committees are created.
Lapointe appointed Pare chairman of finance committee, Lennox head of rules committee, Cathcart to lead bylaws committee and himself chairman of a committee to come up with a process for hiring a town manager.
The councilors said they were eager to find ways to make the new government work and start solving problems.
“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work with you fine folks,” Councilor Darius Gregory said.