Donors, grants to spruce up Graustein Park

By Emily Butterfield

Contributing Writer

FRYEBURG — Graustein Park will be receiving new playground equipment due to the generous donations and grants awarded, thanks to the help of Dick Krasker, but not everyone is pleased with how the equipment was chosen.

Jennifer Regan of the Parks Committee voiced her displeasure at what she felt was a lack of involvement from other members of the Parks Committee. Regan told the Board of Selectmen on Thursday, April 9, that she was unaware of the playground equipment decision until later on, and that she and two other committee members didn’t have a choice in how the money was spent and on what. Regan also said that she was not informed of the additional cost of roughly $12,000 for the shipping, handling and assembling cost until after e-mailing planning board member Wanda Cox. “This is the first I’d heard of it, and I’m on the Parks Committee.”

When the day arrived to choose what equipment would be installed, Regan says, it was already chosen, and the color as well. She was shocked that the decision was made without any other involvement from the Parks Committee, but instead three members who were not on it: Kelly Waco, Wanda Cox, and Kate Eastman.

“The thing is, you cannot have your committees going around making decisions without the whole committee knowing about it. This was one person (Dick Krasker) who made the decision and three other people who were brought in that are not even on the committee.” Regan commended Krasker for raising the money but also added, “but to take my right away as a committee member and not have any say in it is totally wrong.”

Rick Eastman responded stating, “As far as a committee, it sounds like there’s a little bit of a disconnect between your committee members. If a couple of them knew what was going on, how come they didn’t bring you into the loop?”

Regan agreed that there probably is a disconnect, but also said, “That still doesn’t answer the question as to why I wasn’t called or the other committees weren’t called. This just can’t happen.”

“Dick is your chairperson, he’s the one that’s supposed to coordinate among your committee members, and I think the disconnect lies with the person who sits next to you.” Eastman said.

Town Manager Sharon Jackson responded, “I understand Jennifer’s position: she’s part of a committee and the committee should be working collectively. What needed to happen was that the chairman of that committee, it is his responsibility, he should have contacted Jennifer and everyone else.” Town Manager Jackson says that after receiving no responses in the Fryeburg Town Matters column, she contacted people that she knew would have suggestions on what equipment would be best for the park.

“What would you suggest going forward? Should selectmen appoint a committee to Oversee Committees?” asked selectman Paul Naughton. “When a committee chair presents information to selectmen, shouldn’t we take that on face value that he’s representing that committee?”

“I think maybe we should question it from now on a little bit,” Regan responded.

“Given that, we appoint committees where we have a conversation with the chairman of that committee and that we clearly set some ground rules that we think are appropriate on how stuff gets handled and communicated,” Selectman Jeff Cox said. “Quite frankly, it is unfair to Sharon that Dick even involved her. Sharon is a tool for us to help get things done. Committees do not report to Sharon…but at the end of the day it’s our job to make sure that chairmen stay in line and committee members.”

Selectman Naughton and Eastman agreed with Cox, and the issue now seems to be resolved for now.

Please follow and like us: