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Selectmen Create Subcommittees for Diversity and Transportation

The Board of Selectmen voted to create two new subcommittees during the meeting Monday night.

The proposals were for a Transportation Subcommittee and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Subcommittee. They were initially discussed during the May 24 meeting but were not voted on because members thought they should have further discussion on the size of the proposed subcommittees.

The two groups were put forward by Selectmen Nick Priest. Initially he proposed that they be made up of 11 members for transportation and nine members for DEI, including members of other boards, residents and town employees.

In May Selectman Bob Hogan argued that having too many people as actual voting members can make the prospect of actually having a coherent plan at the end of the process more difficult. This week, Priest came back with an updated proposal of five members for DEI and eight members for Transportation.

The proposed make-up of the DEI Subcommittee was one selectman, one member from the Burlington Equity Coalition, one School Committee member and two at-large community members. The proposed make-up of the Transportation Subcommittee was one member of the Board of Selectmen, one Planning Board member, one School Committee member, a Council on Aging board member, a Burlington Youth and Family Services board member, a representative from the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce and two at-large members from the community.

Selectman Hogan said he thought five members for DEI was the right number but that eight for the Transportation Subcommittee was still too many. After some discussion it was decided that the Board of Selectmen member would be a liason to the subcommittee and not a voting member.

The board voted to create both subcommittee.

According to background material provided by Priest the Transportation Subcommittee’s mission statement is “To lead the development of integrated, efficient transportation systems through the creation of sustainable policies and regulations that support the Town of Burlington’s strategic efforts as it relates to economic and social development.”

The charge of the subcommittee is to “Research current issues, concerns with transportation at key locations within Burlington. Develop a strategic, multi-pronged plan that aims at addressing aforementioned issues. Said plan should be built in a phased approach taking into account Economic Development, Burlington’s Master Plan, and any DOT integration. Work with all necessary parties, stakeholders at local and state level to achieve outcomes.”

The suggested Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee’s mission statement is “In alignment with the Select Board’s mission statement it is the mission of this subcommittee to strive to recognize and celebrate the diversity of our community while ensuring that all people; regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, education, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, and socio-economic status are respected and valued. Because our differences do not divide us, but rather strengthen us.”

The subcommittee’s charge is “Evaluate and develop framework for DEI subcommittee from which several strategic initiatives and actionable items can be developed and presented to the Select Board.”