No room for RMV
By: Brent Runyon
A planned express Registry of Motor Vehicles branch at the Edward Marks Jr. Building on East Main Street is in jeopardy, after the current tenant has announced it will seek an injunction to keep the RMV out.
Registrar Rachel Kaprielian had picked the Marks building as an ideal spot for an express branch, because it had plenty of parking and is in a central location to town, after the full-service branch on Davis Straits closed last August.
The Falmouth Board of Selectmen formally offered the site to the RMV, rent free, this spring.
The building would be shared with the Falmouth Retirement System, which has two full-time employees, and is currently the sole occupant of the building.
But now the Falmouth Retirement Board is threatening to file an injunction if the registry moves forward with the plans.
“The retirement board strongly objects to the proposed use of the first floor by the RMV and opposes it,” wrote the board’s attorney, Nicholas Poser of Boston, in a letter dated July 30.
“The retirement board intends to file suit to seek an injunction to prevent the Town from leasing the first floor of the Edward Marks Jr. building to the registry, if the registry does not immediately renounce its interest in using the said premises as a Registry Express,” he wrote.
Falmouth Retirement Board Chairman Paul D. Brodeur, who is also Falmouth Fire Rescue fire chief, said the retirement system has a long-term lease with the town and has no intention of moving or sharing the space with the RMV.
“If I rent out a house and I need a three-bedroom house for my family, and the landlord tries to rent out two bedrooms from my house to somebody else, what am I supposed to do with my two other kids? Ship them out?” said Mr. Brodeur.
Mr. Brodeur said that the retirement system is not a town department and should not be located in town hall, because of the privacy concerns of employees. He said the retirement board uses the vacant room on the first floor for its meetings, an area that would become a part of the RMV branch.
The retirement board includes Mr. Brodeur, Town Accountant Mary Ellen Alwardt, Firefighter Russell R. Ferreira, Town Manager Robert L. Whritenour Jr., and Cambridge Retirement System member Ellen Philbin.
The vote to file an injunction was unanimous, Mr. Brodeur said, although Mr. Whritenour could not vote on the matter, because he represents the town in the negotiations with the RMV. Ms. Philbin was absent from the meeting.
According to the terms of the lease, the retirement board has use of the entire first floor of the building. The retirement system pays $14,624 a year in rent, and the current lease ends in 2013.
Assistant Town Manager Heather B. Harper said the situation was thorny and difficult because it involves a disagreement between two town boards.
Ms. Harper said the town will work with the retirement board to address its concerns, and even offered to eliminate the retirement system’s rent.
She said it is also possible that the RMV could be located elsewhere, including the Odd Fellows Hall, the long-vacant building next to town hall, or the former Water Department offices in town hall.
“The RMV remains committed to restoring services to the greater Falmouth area and we will continue to work with town officials to address the board’s concerns in a mutually beneficial manner,” said RMV spokesman Adam L. Hurtubise.
Falmouth Retirement System is an independent, quasi-governmental agency that provides pension, disability, and survivor benefits to the employees of the Town of Falmouth.
State Representative Timothy R. Madden (D-Nantucket), who pushed to return the RMV to Falmouth, said he is hopeful that the town, the RMV, and the retirement board will work out the differences, because Ms. Kaprielian believes the Marks building is the best site for the express branch.
The Falmouth RMV office became somewhat of a political landmark this spring when Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker held a campaign event in front of the closed RMV office on Davis Straits.
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.