Bancroft Asked to be Removed from ConCom

Tuesday February 13, 2024

Georgetown Town Hall 2024

GEORGETOWN – Town leaders here are at it again.
After the chairman of the Conservation Commission was forced to resign last year and more than 100 residents the year before asked the then-chair of the SelectBoard to step down, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Community Preservation Commission last week asked another town official to resign, claiming a lack of “professional competence.”
Note: all of these positions are voluntary.
Michael Donahue filed a 1,300-word complaint, asking the SelectBoard to remove Rachel Bancroft from two civic boards for an alleged violation of the Open Meeting Law and accusing her of committing fraud in approving the payroll for the town’s conservation agent.
The accusation of payroll fraud was investigated by the town’s attorneys, KP Law, and found to be baseless.
Bancroft, who was elected a member of the SelectBoard in May 2023, is the Conservation Commission (ConCom) vice chair and a member of the Community Preservation Commission (CPC).
Donahue asked the SelectBoard to remove her from both positions. The state would have to remove her from the SelectBoard.
SelectBoard Chair Amy Smith told The Town Common that she has received Donahue’s complaint. “After consulting with town counsel, we are waiting for Ms. Bancroft to be available to meet with the town administrator, Conservation Commission chair and me.”
Orlando Pacheco is the town administrator, and Rebecca Chane is the ConCom chair.
At a similar meeting last year with then ConCom chair Carl Shreder and Bancroft, Smith suggested that they resign. In frustration with town leadership, Shreder resigned after serving on the commission for more than two decades. Bancroft did not.
In his complaint, Donahue wrote, “Some members of the (SelectBoard) BoS may think this a complaint against her (Bancroft’s) reputation and/or character rather than professional competence, (reference to MGL Chapter 30a section 21); either way how the BoS chooses to handle this, this really needs resolution.”
Bancroft, whose term on the SelectBoard continues for two and a half more years and is not up for reappointment to the ConCom for two years, said Donahue’s complaint is based on “a false narrative” and is not healthy for the town of Georgetown.
“I find it very strange that one town board member would attack another. It is not good for the town and sets a bad precedent,” she said.
Donahue’s accusations against Bancroft hit several hot political buttons in Georgetown.
The ConCom is the only town board that has not approved the permit for G. Mello Disposal Corp. to build a 500-ton trash transfer station. On orders of a state court, it will begin reconsidering the Mello proposal this month.
The ConCom is also considering several other high-profile land developments, including a new townhouse development at the site of the old Tin Lizzy Bar & Grill.
When accusations were made of payroll fraud against the ConCom, the town asked its attorneys, KP Law, to investigate the accusations regarding the compensation for Steve Przyjsmski, the town’s conservation agent.
KP Law attorney Deborah Ecker found in 2018 that Przyjsmski was a salaried employee, not an hourly employee. Therefore, he could not have committed fraud in reporting his hours worked. Nor could Shreder and Bancroft have committed fraud by signing timesheets.
Przyjsmski resigned a year ago after working for the town for 17 years, citing a “toxic environment” at town hall.
As the town’s environmental agent, Przyjsmski was often asked to do site investigations and inspect environmental hazards at night and on weekends, Shreder and Bancroft explained. As a result, he was often not in Town Hall, which led to inaccurate accusations against him.
Donahue, a close friend of Kevin Wood, who has filed numerous Open Meeting and Freedom of Information requests against the town, complained that Bancroft had said Wood’s filings against the town are “a waste of taxpayer money.”
When Bancroft and Shreder opened a police file following tense meetings that involved extensive yelling, Donahue accused Bancroft of being “retailiatory.” He added, “A Professionally Competent person would look to resolve open issues with town leadership rather than enflame them.”

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