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Vivano Joins Conservation Commission

The Conservation Commission welcomes a new face in Jeffrey Viviano, whose appointment the Select Board approved in a unanimous vote at their October 13 meeting.

Viviano, a pilot and Lake Shirley resident, replaces Todd Dwyer, who 
announced his resignation from the commission earlier this month. 

“He had a very powerful voice,” Viviano said of Dwyer’s service. “His opinion was held very highly with his background, and he was very 
reasonable.”

Viviano had approached the Select Board to serve on the Conservation Commission in the summer of 2019. At the time, the commission was mired in a controversy over an updated order of conditions, which 
required members of the Lake Shirley Improvement Corporation (LSIC) to pay for new testing and treatment of the lake. 

Three members of the commission were also up for reappointment at the time, and Viviano’s candidacy failed after a motion to appoint him to the board, made by Katey Adams, didn’t receive a second. 

But Viviano said he held no hard feelings over how the situation unfolded when he appeared at last week’s meeting. “I completely understand 
everything that happened, “ he said, “and I did not take anything that 
happened negatively.”

Born in New York but growing up in Acton, Viviano recalled his 
childhood on Lake Shirley, where he spent “a good deal” of his time. His parents eventually bought a home on the lake. Viviano himself recently bought property and built a home there.

He cited his interest in hiking, his experiences visiting national parks around he country, and even his work as an airline pilot as experience for his work on the commission. He told the Select Board that he had to be able to read building charts—a necessary skill for serving on the 
commission—while working as an air-conditioning and heating 
contractor. And as a pilot he said he understands how to interpret 
regulations.

He also said that he was a dues-paying member of the LSIC, but added that he only attends a few meetings per year. 

Viviano served as an associate member of the Conservation Commission and said he attended three-to-four meetings. When he was going though the permitting process to build his home, he said he attended about 10 meetings. 

“The way that Mr. Viviano handled rulings even when they did not go his way is a testament to his character,” Dwyer said of Viviano’s presence and professionalism.

Commission chairman Bob Pease said that the commission’s three newest members had served as associate members or in other capacities before being appointed. “We have a tradition of getting people who have shown interest and learning the ropes by attending meetings,” he said. 

Though the Select Board approved Viviano’s appointment, another 
resident, Mike Larouche, had expressed interest in serving on the 
Commission. His talent bank form for the post had been filed on the evening of October 12, Tom Alonzo said.

While the board was ready to move forward with a vote for Viviano, Jack Rabbitt, a member of the Conservation Commission, wanted to give Larouche’s application a fair hearing.

“We have not had the chance as a committee to even talk with Mr. Larouche and weigh the capabilities of the candidates,” Rabbitt said. “You would do that in a regular job situation.” 

“If Jeff gets it, that’s great,” Rabbitt said. “But I believe we need to be not cutting it off just yet.”

Rabbitt reminded the board about the time commitment Conservation Commission members make. “Every other Saturday is shot to hell with site visits,” he said. And meeting run to about midnight every other week, he said. “I want anybody that joins this to fully understand, you’re going drop a good 20 hours—25 hours in a month to really work well.”

“Both candidates need to ask: can I put that kind of time in and become versed as much as I can in the science and legality?,” he said. “This is a ton of work.”

Members of the Select Board encouraged Larouche to follow the 
examples set by recent appointees to the commission—serve as an 
associate member. 

Pease said that associate members, while important positions, are “not a real thing.” Associate members can participate in discussions and go on site walks, but they do not participate in the voting process. He said no formal process is needed for associate members, and encouraged Larouche to join. 

Larouche, a beekeeper who expressed a particular interest in local 
wetlands, said he understands the process and that he would be interested in serving as an associate member.

“I’m sure we will see you back,” Alonzo said of Larouche’s interest. 
dd text.